A new report by Save the Children has revealed that hundreds of millions of children around Africa and other parts of world are still out of school two years after the pandemic was reported and many might never return to school in the foreseeable future due a myriad of factors ranging from COVID-19, Climate change, a lack of COVID-19 vaccines, displacement and attacks on schools.
According to the report, countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Sudan, Mali, and Libya have education systems that are at ‘extreme risk’ and Syria and Yemen follow closely behind.
The report dubbed Build Better Foward revealed that Children’s right to learn and be protected was under severe threat from conflict, displacement, the climate crisis, environmental emergencies, hunger and health crises.
The children most affected by inequality and discrimination are at greatest risk. There, in a nutshell, is both the crisis and the opportunity. A crisis or shock may lead to children being denied the chance to learn. But at the same time, after an emergency, education is vital to help children rebuild their lives and restore a sense of hope,” said the Report.
Unlike conflicts or climate-related disasters, the report further indicated that even though the Covid-19 pandemic did not destroy schools, it has weakened many education systems, tested their resilience and ability to respond to this crisis, and entrenched exclusion.
“Millions of children were left with no access to formal education during school closures. Our global survey of 25,000 children and caregivers found four in five children learned little or nothing while out of school. Girls are at greatest risk, due to an increase in household chores and caregiving responsibilities.
“The economic impact of the pandemic has plunged millions more into poverty, 65 increasing the risk of child marriage, forced labour, violence, abuse and exploitation – leading to more children being likely to drop out of school. Good nutrition is vital for cognitive development. However, an estimated 2.6 million children may be left stunted by the impacts of the pandemic, which will have huge implications even if schools are open and resourced.Malnourished students will learn less, no matter what happens in the classroom.”
The reports added that climate emergency was also posing a growing risk to children’s ability to access education and learn as it has potentially life-long consequences, undermining their opportunities to transform their lives.
“In a ‘normal’ year, 75 million children have their education disrupted. For around half of them, this is the result of climatic and environmental threats – such as cyclones, typhoons, floods and drought. Schools are often damaged or even destroyed. In Mozambique in 2019, Cyclone Idai damaged or destroyed more than 3,400 classrooms.
“Where schools remain open and accessible in an emergency, they may not be able to offer regular lessons or have the materials they need. Climate-related events have already contributed to over 50 million children being forced from their homes, migrating across borders, or being displaced within their own countries.71 And climate-induced displacement is projected to increase.”
The World Bank suggests that more than 143 million people could be internally displaced by 2050 in just three regions due to the slow-onset impact of climate change and this will threaten children’s protection, wellbeing and access to good-quality education. If current trends continue, by 2025 the climate emergency will be a contributing factor in preventing at least 12.5 million girls from completing their education each year.
Meanwhile, Conflicts are becoming more frequent, dangerous, protracted and fragmented. At the same time, compliance with international law is declining, leading to record high levels of killing and maiming of children, and rising displacement. Over the last three decades, the number of children living in conflict zones has nearly doubled
reaching 415 million in 2018.
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