African governments are being urged to work towards reopening schools amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations children’s agency have urged them to do so in a safer way.
The global agencies fear prolonged closure of schools will become harmful to students.
Since March this year, many governments in Africa closed schools and only reopened them for final year students to write their final year exams.
Only six African countries have fully opened schools, according to a survey of 39 countries by the WHO and Unicef.
Some countries reopened schools and closed them soon after because of a surge in coronavirus cases.
But some countries like Kenya have cancelled the academic year completely.
The African governments are being urged to invest in sanitation facilities to prevent the spread of coronavirus in learning institutions.
There are fears with a prolong absence from school students are now exposed to poor nutrition, teenage pregnancies and violence during extended stay-at-home.
The long closure of schools poses a risk to the future of children and their communities, according to Unicef Regional Director Mohamed Fall.
The WHO Regional Director Matshidiso Moeti says schools in Africa are a “safe haven” for children, something that needs to be restored.
“We must not be blind-sided by our efforts to contain Covid-19 and end up with a lost generation. Just as countries are opening businesses safely, we can reopen schools,” she said during on Thursday.