Almost 10 million children may not return to school after the pandemic

Against the backdrop of the coronavirus crisis, education budgets have been sharply cut and poverty is rising in a number of countries around the world, says Save the Children.

At least 9.7 million children around the world will never return to school after the coronavirus pandemic, suggests the British non-governmental organization Save the Children. In a new report released on Monday, 13 July, it warns of an ‘unprecedented global education emergency’ now in place.

However, the organization points to severe cuts in education budgets in several countries since the pandemic began and growing poverty. Twelve countries around the world (in West and Central Africa, as well as Yemen and Afghanistan) have “extremely high risks” of children dropping out of school forever, while another twenty-eight countries have “moderate to high risk”.

Girls in particular will be affected

In all likelihood, girls will suffer much more than boys. At a time when educational institutions are closed, NGOs warn that in some countries they are at risk of gender-based violence, early marriage and early pregnancy. Many families will also have to take their children out of school to work, the report goes on to say.

Save the Children experts called on governments and lenders to respond to global challenges in education and to urgently invest in keeping schools running after months of forced closure. The Organization also called on creditors to enable low-income countries to suspend debt.

According to the organization, 1.6 billion children worldwide have been prevented from attending school because of the pandemic. However, despite the efforts of governments and humanitarian organizations, about 500 million schoolchildren did not have access to distance learning. Currently, more than 1 billion schoolchildren are still unable to attend classes due to restrictive measures in their countries, according to the organization.