The COVID – 19 has led to the largest disruption of education in history, it has affected around 1.6 billion students across all the countries. The pandemic has impacted global economic conditions and forced around 23.8 billion children to drop out or not have access to school next year due to the crises.
The policy brief highlights the impact of the pandemic on education. It was done by UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres on August 4.
Education is the key to personal development
During the launch, UN Secretary-General said, “Education is the key to personal development and the future of societies. It unlocks opportunities and narrows inequalities. It is the primary driver of sustainable development, the bedrock of informed, tolerant societies. The COVID 19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education ever.”
Effects of school closure
In the month of July, schools were closed in more than 160 countries. Overall it affects more than 1 billion students globally. “At least 40 million students worldwide have no access to schools and they have missed out on education in their critical preschool year,” Guterres added
The pandemic has exacerbated education disparities and education loses. Shut down of schools has also threatened to erase the progress made in recent decades. As the world is facing unsustainable levels of inequality, “we require education – the great equaliser – more than ever. There is a need to take bold steps now to create inclusive, resilient, quality education systems for the future,” said Guterres.
Problems faced by minorities
Guterres said that despite the delivery of lessons by radio, television and online platforms and laudable efforts of teachers and parents, many students remain out of reach.
He spoke about the plight of the minority communities. Further, he mentioned that disabled, refugees and people in the remote area are more prone to be left behind.
World facing a learning crisis
The UN chief pointed out that the world is already facing a learning crisis. more than 250 billion school-age children do not have access to schools. Only a quarter of secondary school students in developing countries were leaving school with basic skills. While speaking about child nutrition, child marriage and gender equality, he expressed “deep concern” about the decline in the progress made so far.
Future of education
Speaking about the UN’s policy brief, Guterres said that the policy focusses on a new campaign called “save our future”. UN will initiate it along with its education partners. This will help in the development of the countries for future prospects.
It will urge governments worldwide to prioritize investment in education. Further, it will help address the problems in the way of reopening schools after the pandemic. Also, the UN released guidance for the government to follow when schools reopen. The guidelines will prove essential to balance health risks and risks to children’s education and protection, and the impact of women labour force participation.
Importance of educational Budget
he emphasized on protection and increment in education budgets to meet the future demands. In the meantime, it will help minority and left out-groups, disabled peoples to get a quality education. Gutteres further asked to focus on the specific challenges faced by people of different age and gender and asked to bridge the digital divide.
At last, he asked to look for Sustainable Development Goals and plan our investment in digital literacy and infrastructure.
The brief mentioned that governments should strengthen the resilience of education systems. It should place a strong focus on equity and inclusion to be in a better position during future crises.