July 13 (UPI) -- Only one-third of countries -- mostly high-income ones -- are taking necessary steps to measure learning losses in schools, the United Nations reported Tuesday.
During UNESCO's Global Education Meeting, Director-General Audrey Azoulay and UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore issued a statement explaining that 19 countries still have their classrooms closed.
The closure affects more than 156 million students, which could result in children missing out on education that can't be recovered. School closures also affected parents and caregivers, they said.
The U.N. urged countries to implement remedial programs and get children back into classrooms as soon as possible.
Measuring the loss of education due to school closures during the pandemic is essential, according to the director of UNESCO's Institute for Statistics, Silvia Montoya.
"It is vital that countries invest in assessing the magnitude of such losses to implement the appropriate remedial measures," she said in the report.
The article stated that in a survey where 142 countries participated, covering February 2020 to May 2021 and across four levels of education, fewer than a third of low and middle-income countries reported that all students returned to in-person learning.
The survey took note of how countries addressed the challenge of reopening schools and their distance learning strategy.
"Most countries have encouraged students to return to school through measures such as community engagement, school-based tracking, financial incentives and improvements to water, sanitation and hygiene services," the report stated.
Research published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science in the United States in April backs up the U.N.'s article.
"[Our] findings imply that students made little or no progress while learning from home and suggest losses even larger in countries with weaker infrastructure or longer school closures," the report stated.