Children’s future at stake around the world, so what should we be aware of?

Covid-19 has been and remains a global transformational phase. Like all the crises that once happened to this world, the only way out of this is through it. Due to the COVID-19, this world has witnessed thousands if not millions of victims and hopefully we will be on the way again to restore this world every day.

We should clearly outline that the only positive thing about the pandemic was the realisation that we are all in this together. Covid-19 did not differentiate between any country, race, background or gender. Due to this worldwide crisis the entire world got together in order to assisst each other out.

According to the United Nations the sustainable development is the blueprint to achieve a better and more long-lasting future for all of us. These goals clearly address the global challenges the world faces today including poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace, and justice.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report of 2021 outlines data and all the estimates of the devastating impacts of what happened because of the pandemic on the sustainable development goals. Moreover, the piece prepared by the United Nations Committee points out all areas and categories which require immediate and coordinated actions.

We must confess that for this world to rise once again all governments and nations must address vulnerabilities and impacts caused by the pandemic in order to guide the international community with an aim to create a more structural and transformational solutions guided by the SDGs (The Sustainable Development Goals Report: 2021).

According to the SDGs repost, the pandemic has wiped out almost 20 years of education gains. Around 101 millions or (9%) of children from grade 1 to 8 fell below minimum reading proficiency levels in 2020.

Participation in organised pre-primary learning increased from 65% in 2010 to 73% in 2019. Today, due to this fact a great number of young children are entirely co-dependent and reliant on caregivers at home. There is a slow progress in schools completion and most likely it will get worse. Primary school completion rate in 2021 is 82% whereas in 85% it was 2019. The secondary school completion rate is 46% in 2021 which has shifted to 53% in 2019. These are global ratings which also prove that basic school infrastructure to build back better is lacking in many countries because of low resources.

Coronavirus threatens decades of development. Before covid, education was already developing slowly worldwide. Now two in three children lack basic reading skills. The underprivileged children are bearing a much worse consequences such as risks of never returning to schools, being forced into child marriage and child labour. In order to save the children and the future of our world we need to take exceptional measures.

The pandemic caused an additional 101 million children to fall behind the minimum reading proficiency and now increasing number of students are falling behind more every day. In 2020 , 584 million students fall behind in minimum reading proficiency and similar declines are shown in mathematics.

In times where poverty is rapidly growing and covid forcing schools to work online without being prepared to do so, many children from poorest households and vulnerable groups are less equipped and prepared for remote learning which makes them more likely to drop out or not be able to participate for an extended period of time.

According to the SDGs , Only third of countries reached parity in primary school completion between rural and urban students and only one sixth of countries reached parity between students in poorest and richest households.

Before the pandemic an average rate of 25% of adults and youth actively participate in formal and non-formal education with variations across 73 countries which has below 10% participation rate. On the other hand, participation rate was 40% and above among European and northern America countries.

Now that work and schools became remote, basic information and communication technology skills is vital to survive such conditions. However, the SDGs indicate that less than 40% of youth and adults reported performing one of the basic ICT skills in the last three months, such as sending emails. There are gaps between skill level depending on various groups and occupations but less gender differences especially in young adults and children.

Globally more than fifth of primary schools lacked basic resources such as lack in single sex toilets, access to basic drinking water and no electricity. Less developed countries must face even worse conditions since half of primary schools lack something like single sex toilets which is of vital important for girls to attend school. Moreover, more than two thirds of the less developed countries have to live without electricity. It is needless to say how important it is to have an adequate sanitation facility which is almost impossible in such conditions for the LDCs (less developed countries).

Finally, because of the massive economic fallout crises, it is hard to secure the capital that will have the ability to make fast and much needed progress especially in poorest countries.

By: Fayrouz Khaled