WHAT HAPPENS IF CHILDREN DON’T GO BACK TO SCHOOL AFTER LOCKDOWN?
November 11, 2020
United World Schools
24 million children who previously attended school may never return to their classrooms following the easing of national lockdowns. This warning from UNESCO is particularly bleak considering the already urgent education crisis, with hundreds of millions of children around the globe reaching adulthood without basic numeracy and literacy skills.
The children from the most marginalised backgrounds are the ones who are least likely to return to school. The economic strains of the pandemic often means they need to work to support their families instead of attending lessons.
What happens if children don’t go back to school?
- Child marriage will increase
A lack of education disproportionately affects women and girls, exacerbating gender inequalities. When they don’t attend school, opportunities for girls are limited and they are often forced into early marriages. It is estimated that Covid-19 has put 2.5 million more girls at risk of underage marriage, violating their rights and directly correlating to an predicted increase in gender-based violence.
- Poverty will become more widespread
Without an education, it is almost impossible to break out of poverty. Going to school changes this. For each additional year of schooling, an individual’s income increases by up to 10%. If all students in low income countries acquired basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty.
- Health and wellbeing will decline
The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance of global healthcare and access to health information. Education is inextricably linked to health and the benefits are lifelong. A child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to live past the age of 5 and 50% more likely to be immunised.