Shutting Down Schools Due to Covid-19 Outbreak Not Justified: World Bank Education Director


World Bank Education Director’s statement on school shutdown
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World Bank’s Global Education Director Jaime Saavedra has opined that shutting down schools in view of Covid-19 global pandemic is not justified. He said that even if new waves of the pandemic arrive, school closure should be the last resort.

Saavedra’s team had been tracking and taking stock of the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on the education sector, which concluded that there is no evidence of cases surging after the schools had reopened. They also disposed of the opinion that schools are ‘not a safe place’ in the thick of the pandemic.

Saavedra further asserted that it is completely insensible to wait for childrens’ vaccination and then open the schools as there was no scientific evidence to support it. In an interview given in Washington, Saavedra stated, “There is no connection between the functioning of schools and the spread of Coronavirus. There is no scientific evidence that links both the phenomenon and hence there is no justification now to keep the schools shut. Even if there are new waves of Covid-19, closing schools should be the last resort.”

He continued by saying that it does not make any sense to keep the bars, restaurants and shopping malls functional and schools closed. As per the latest simulations of the World Bank, there are low health risks for children if the schools are reopened now, while the cost of closure is extremely high.

“During 2020, when all of us were newly exposed to the pandemic, we were oblivious of the most effective ways to combat the pandemic and hence clamped down on institutional as well as other public activities in a sense of panic. With the passage of time, we are now in 2022 where we have witnessed several waves, despite which certain countries have opened school doors”, was Saavedra’s latest statement.

Notably, the World Bank Education had also released a report in 2020, titled “Beaten or Broken? Informality and Covid-19 in South Asia”, which claimed that prolonged closure of schools owing to Covid-19 pandemic in India may result in the loss of over 400 billion USD in the country’s future earnings.
 

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