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Ten million children ‘may not return to school’ after the virus – the world




The coronavirus pandemic has caused an “unprecedented educational emergency” with up to 9.7 million children affected by school closures at risk of never returning to class, Save the Children warned on Monday.

The British charity cited UNESCO data showing that in April, 1.6 billion young people were shut down by school and university due to measures to contain COVID-19 – about 90 percent of the world’s student population.

“For the first time in human history, a whole generation of children have globally stopped their education,” she said in a new report, Save Our Education.

She said the economic downturn in the crisis could force 90 to 117 million children into poverty, with an impact on school admissions.

With many young people being asked to work or girls forced into early marriage to support their families, this could see between seven and 9.7 million children dropping out of school forever.

At the same time, charity warned that the crisis could leave a $ 77 billion shortfall in education budgets in low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021.

“About 10 million children may no longer return to school – this is an unprecedented educational emergency and governments must urgently invest in learning,” said Save the Children chief executive Inger Ashing.

“On the contrary, we are at risk of unprecedented budget cuts, which will see the existing inequality explode between the rich and the poor, and between boys and girls.”

The charity encouraged governments and donors to invest more funds after a new global education plan to help children return to school when it is safe and until then to support distance learning.

“We know the poorest, most marginalized children, who were already farther away, have suffered the greatest loss, without access to distance learning – or any kind of education – for half an academic year,” Ashing said.

Save the Children also urged trade creditors to suspend debt repayments for low-income countries – an move it said could release $ 14 billion for educational programs.

“If we allow this educational crisis to unfold, the impact on children’s future will be long lasting,” Ashing said.

“The promise the world has made to ensure that all children have access to a quality education by 2030 will come back over the years,” she said, citing the United Nations goal.

The report ranked 12 countries where children are most at risk of falling behind: Nigeria, Mali, Adad, Liberia, Afghanistan, Guinea, Mauritania, Yemen, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal and the Ivory Coast.

Before the crisis, about 258 million children and adolescents had already disappeared from school, the charity said.

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