Five things you need to know this week about planetary education (January 21, 2022) – World

Our roundup looks at emergency financial aid for Afghan teachers and a robot that replaces a boy whose medical condition prevents him from attending school.

EU to boost education in Afghanistan

The European Union has launched projects worth $90 million to support the education of millions of children caught up in the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan.

Emergency cash support for 194,000 public school teachers over the winter will benefit nearly nine million students aged 6 to 18. The project will be managed by UNICEF.

A second program implemented by the World Food Program will provide school meals and take-home food to primary school children. The EU will also support cash transfers for the families of secondary-aged girls attending school.

The projects are part of a Package of 300 million dollars from the EU help maintain education, maintain livelihoods and protect public health in Afghanistan, including for refugees and internally displaced persons. Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, said: “We will not abandon the Afghan people”.

“No need now” to close schools

There is no longer any reason to keep schools closed because of Covid-19 – even if there are new waves, according to the World Bank’s director of education.

Jaime Saavedra – whose team has been tracking the impact of school closures during the pandemic – said there was no evidence that reopening schools caused an increase in cases or that schools are not are not safe places for children.

Saavedra told the Press Trust of India: “There is no link between the opening of schools and the spread of coronavirus. Even if there are new waves of Covid-19, the closing of schools should be the last resort.”

On the issue of childhood vaccinations, he said, “No country has imposed the condition of reopening schools only after children have been vaccinated. Because there is no science behind it and it does not makes no sense from a public policy perspective.

A robot replaces a sick student

Seven-year-old Joshua Martinangeli is too ill to go to school due to a serious lung condition. But the German student can still interact with his teacher and classmates from home thanks to an avatar robot that sits in class and sends out a blinking signal when he has something to say.

“The children talk to him, laugh with him and sometimes even chat with him during the lesson. Joshi can do that very well too,” said Ute Winterberg, principal of his Berlin school.

The project is funded by the local council, which has purchased four avatars for its schools.

Councilor Torsten Kuehne said: “The impetus was Covid-19 but I think that will be the future well beyond the pandemic. There are times when a child can’t go to class in person Then the avatar can give that child a chance to continue being part of the school community.

Help at hand for schools in Tonga

It could be days or even weeks before the full devastation caused by the volcano and tsunami in Tonga becomes clear.

But already, UN agencies and humanitarian organizations are exploring how to provide emergency education as well as food, shelter and security. At least 28,000 children in the South Pacific islands are thought to have been affected in some way.

Shairana Ali, CEO of Save the Children Fiji, said: “Children in Tonga were due to return to school on January 31, but the damage and destruction of schools will undoubtedly delay the resumption of learning. Save the Children is already supporting a distance learning program to reach outlying islands.

In 2018, Tropical Cyclone Gita damaged 109 of Tonga’s 150 schools. A major program had rebuilt and repaired schools to make them more resilient to extreme weather conditions.

Jordanian schools ‘must reopen and stay open’

Three United Nations agencies have called for schools in Jordan to quickly reopen – and stay open – after the start of the new term was delayed due to rising Covid cases.

More than two million students were due to return on February 1, but that has now been extended until February 20.

Heads of UNESCO, UNICEF and WHO in Jordan say schools should be the last sector to close and the first to open to avoid a learning loss that could affect children for years .

UNICEF Representative Tanya Chapuisat said: “Time is running out to help children who have already lost nearly two years of in-person learning. The focus must be on getting the most vulnerable children who face a phantom pandemic of child labor, early marriage and mental health issues, and are most at risk of dropping out, returning to school ‘school.”

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