The United Nations chief has said the coronavirus pandemic has led to the largest disruption of education in history.

School closures in more than 160 countries in mid-July have affected more than one billion students, it is claimed.

In addition, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that at least 40 million children worldwide have missed out on education “in their critical pre-school year”.

As a result, he warned that the world faces “a generational catastrophe that could waste untold human potential, undermine decades of progress, and exacerbate entrenched inequalities”.

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“We are at a defining moment for the world’s children and young people,” Mr Guterres said in a video message and a 26-page policy briefing.

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(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

“The decisions that governments and partners take now will have lasting impact on hundreds of millions of young people, and on the development prospects of countries for decades to come.”

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Mr Guterres called for the reopening of schools once the local transmission of the virus is under control.


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