Bangladesh for ensuring universal distance learning amid COVID-19 pandemic

Publish: 7:16 PM, June 30, 2020 | Update: 7:16:PM, June 30, 2020

DHAKA,  – Bangladesh as the president of UNICEF Executive Board has called for universal access to online and distance learning for children across the world during COVID-19 pandemic

“Access to online and distance learning universally should be a top priority now,” said Bangladesh Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Rabab Fatima, who is also currently serving as President of the Executive Board (EB) of UNICEF.

She said distance learning for a large majority of children in the developing countries remains a challenge due to lack of access to digital platforms and internet connectivity and only about 30% have access.

Ambassador Fatima, who was unanimously elected as the President of the UNICEF’s EB, made the remark while opening the first ever virtual Annual Session of the UNICEF Executive Board on Monday in New York, according to a message receive here.

As the President of UNICEF’s EB, Fatima urged the UNICEF to ensure that its pandemic response and recovery programmes complement and support the governments in the programme countries without compromising its regular mandated programmes.

Highlighting on the grim realities facing many countries, especially the lower income countries, the LDCs, and in Africa in the face of the Pandemic, she said, “even the simple task of ‘hand washing’ is a challenge for many children as they have no access to water, sanitation and hygiene infrastructure”.

She also underscored the rising risks of outbreaks of preventable diseases such as cholera, polio, and measles due to the suspension or scaling down of UNICEF’s vaccination programmes because of the pandemic.

Terming the COVID-19 pandemic as a ‘litmus test’ for the UN system, she stressed the importance of UNICEF’s response and recovery work to be in sync with the other UN agencies.

Fatima reiterated support of the Executive Board in providing strategic guidance and mobilizing greater international support for the organization in this regard.

She also encouraged all to continue their generous assistance to the organization in its core areas of function.

Permanent Representatives and delegates from member states across the world placed country statements at the annual session.