We are facing an education emergency. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, over 1.6 billion learners were out of school. For the first time in human history, an entire global generation has had their education disrupted. And we know from previous crises that the longer children are out of school, the greater the risk that they do not return – over nine million children could miss out on education for good.
New analysis in this global report shows how COVID-19 may impact the funding of education, as well as the countries most at risk of falling behind. It also highlights the change Save the Children wants to see for children and their recommendations for governments and the international community so we can keep learning alive, support every child to return to school and build back for better learning.
The world’s most vulnerable children may not have been in school in the first place – and if they were, they now may not make it back there. These children include:
- children pushed into poverty because of COVID-19, who may be forced to work because their families are struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads
- adolescent girls who now face an increased risk of gender-based violence, early pregnancy or child marriage, trapped in a cycle of violence and poverty, and denied the chance to fulfil their potential
- refugee and internally displaced children – like Rohingya children forced to leave Myanmar or Syrian children fleeing conflict – who live in overcrowded camps and settlements with little or no basic healthcare and limited opportunities to learn
- children living in conflict-affected areas who are at risk of being recruited into armed groups; children forced to do hazardous and exploitative work; children forced into marriage and early pregnancy
- children with disabilities who already struggle to access inclusive education opportunities. Children with disabilities made up 15% of all out-of-school children before the pandemic.