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It is time to reopen Southeast Asia's schools

Pandemic reveals weaknesses in education and ways to improve it

| Philippines
A girl sits on a piece of wood in Manila in October 2020; the longer children stay out of school, the less likely they are to return.   © Reuters

Pirkka Tapiola is European Union ambassador to Thailand. Karin Hulshof is regional director for UNICEF East Asia and Pacific.

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is time to rethink policies that are keeping millions of children out of school and hindering their learning process. School closures since the outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020 have resulted in an unprecedented and sudden disruption of children's education around the world. Across East Asia and Pacific, such closures have affected over 325 million children.

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