An “unprecedented education emergency” has been caused due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Around 9.7 million children are affected by school closures and might never go back to school.
As per the UNESCO data, about 1.6 billion young people were shut out of universities and schools in order to control the spread of COVID-19 in April. That makes up to 90 percent of the entire student population in the world.
According to the report, Save Our Education, COVID-19 has globally disrupted an entire generation of children. This has happened for the first time in human history.
The economic fall-out of the crisis could compel 90 to 117 million more children into poverty. It may even lead to a knock-on effect on school admissions.
This may steer young people to work or girls to marry early in order to support their families. With this, between 7 to 9.7 million children may permanently drop out of school.
As warned by the charity, the crisis could evacuate a shortfall in education budgets of $77 billion in low and middle-income countries by the end of 2021.
Save the Children chief executive Inger Ashing said that around 10 million children may never return to school. This is an unparalleled educational emergency. There is an urgent need for governments to invest in learning. There is a risk of unparalleled budget cuts. The already existing inequality may break out between the poor and the rich, and between girls and boys.
The governments and donors are being urged by the charity to invest more funds for a new global education plan. It may help children to get back into school when it is safe and support distance learning until then.
The poor and unprivileged children who were already the furthest behind have suffered the most. Half of their academic year is wrecked due to no access to distance learning or any kind of education.
Commercial creditors are also urged by Save the Children to cancel debt repayments for low-income countries. It could free up about $14 billion for educational programs.
The impact on children’s futures will be long-lasting if we allow this education crisis to unfold. The promise made by the world to assure all children are accessible to quality education by 2030, will be set back by years, stated Ashing, referring to the United Nations goal.
12 countries were listed in the report where children are most at risk of falling behind. Namely, Chad, Yemen, Niger, Guinea, Afghanistan, Senegal, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, and Mauritania.
As claimed by the charity, an estimated 258 million children and adolescents were missing out on school already before the crisis.