For the International Day of Education 2022, Aide et Action foresees a pessimistic picture of the current evolution of the situation of education, schools, children and young people all over the world. If measures are not taken now, the pandemic – which has already deprived millions of young people from their right to education – risks sacrificing the future of entire generations.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, schools around the world have been the focus of fantasies, irrational fears and worries – real or imagined – about the dangers they represent and the hopes that everyone – parents, teachers, students and public authorities – have for them. In this way, school reveals the central place it occupies in the collective imagination: the privileged place of all education, but also of transmission of a little-known virus that is difficult to control. The difficulties in replacing teachers affected by COVID-19 and the storm surrounding their “absenteeism” once again highlight the passions that schools stir up.
For the past two years, especially at the height of the crisis, 1.6 billion learners were out of school worldwide. 24 million children and youth, including 11 million girls, are at risk of not returning to school. Since the beginning of the pandemic, one in seven children have been directly affected by long-term or short-term lockdown measures. In Southeast Asia alone, more than 140 million children have had their education disrupted, which leads to their future being at risk.
The pandemic has already deprived millions of young people of their right to education, exacerbated a pre-existing learning crisis and now threatens the very future of entire generations. The World Bank, UNESCO and UNICEF estimate that, as a result of school closures related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the current generation of students stands to lose $17 trillion in lifetime earnings in present value terms, or about 14% of current global GDP.
Call for Quality Measures
In the field, and in its projects, Aide et Action is taking action in response to COVID-19 and its consequences on access to education.Aide et Action is also encouraging governments from all over the world to:
– To reopen schools as soon as possible, in compliance with sanitary conditions and barrier measures, and/or to develop educational alternatives that are truly accessible to all children.
– To ensure that teachers receive the support and training required to take care of the most vulnerable children.
– To ensure substitution of unavailable teachers in order to allow a good educational continuity.
More globally, we call for the construction and implementation of free, inclusive and quality education systems in order to guarantee the right to quality education for all children, especially the most marginalized populations. It is also important to allocate to these education systems the means – both human and financial resources – adapted to ensure that no one is left behind. This is why we call on development aid donor countries to prioritize aid to education, particularly basic education.