The 3rd International Day of Education will be earmarked by alarming figures relating to education around the world. In the current context of a global pandemic and while 2021 remains uncertain, Aide et Action is calling on states, including France, to urgently take action, particularly financially, to support of education.
Before the pandemic, 258 million children were already out of school and, even after several years spent at school, 1 in 6 children did not acquire basic knowledge. A major learning crisis, due to a lack of materials, dire learning conditions, and a lack of teacher training – was already prevalent even before COVID-19.
Accumulation of crises
The sudden and multi-month closures of schools and universities during lockdowns have left millions of children and young people out of school and hampered basic learning for millions of school children. Due to a lack of access to digital tools, more than 465 million students have been deprived of learning and, due to the rise in poverty following the pandemic, more than 24 million children are unlikely to return to school.
“These millions of excluded young people will nevertheless have tomorrow’s world to (re) build. Urgent and massive measures and investments are more than ever crucial to implement, as quickly as possible, an efficient, inclusive education system which is capable of welcoming all and ensuring them the minimum of 12 years of free and high-quality education. This is essential for their future and, consequently, for that of the World After”, warns Charles-Emmanuel Ballanger, International Director General of Aide et Action.
However, the announcements – and the same promises – on this subject by many political world leaders have, to this day, still not been acted upon. In France, the bill on solidarity and development, presented to the Council of Ministers last December, does not seem to take into account the seriousness of the consequences of COVID-19. It does not mention new support for developing countries and does not give any visibility on France’s future commitments in terms of education.
The many events planned for 2021 (such as the Global Partnership for Education and Education Cannot Wait refinancing conferences, Generation Equality Forum and G7 summit tonnage but a few) will be an opportunity for these same leaders to finally keep their word and to make education a priority, especially a financial one. It is an absolute emergency to support education in the face of the pandemic.