Graduate Women International calls for the increase in domestic funding for education as a means to confront the seismic results of the COVID 19 pandemic on education.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a global learning disruption of unprecedented scale and severity and has caused the most significant threat in history to education. A staggering 300 million students are out of school (1). The closure of schools, universities, and other knowledge institutions and the interruption of literacy and lifelong learning programmes have disrupted the lives of an estimated 1.6 billion students globally (2). The pandemic threatens a seismic reversal of the hard-earned gains of 180 million more girls enrolling in primary and secondary school, and a three-fold increase in third-level education since adopting the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action 25 years ago (3). The pandemic is the largest shock to education in history, and the magnitude of the impact may defy measurement. The World Bank report estimates a loss of $10 trillion dollars in earnings over time for the current generation of students.
Alarming is the 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report that estimates that 11 million girls and young women may never return to education. The extraordinary and unprecedented education crisis caused by COVID 19 has led to the aforementioned 1.6 billion students learning being thwarted due to school closures. While Graduate Women International (GWI) hails the vitality of innovative and promising learning methods stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, the global education culture shift to digital and distance learning compounds the accessibility of education for those who are already marginalized. The digital divide prevents those farthest behind from accessing online resources to continue education. As example, in Western Europe and North America, at least one in seven students do not have access to the Internet at home. This figure rises to 80% in sub-Saharan Africa and 88% in Least Developed Countries. Unless we take urgent action, more than 24 million children are at risk of dropping out of school.
Given these astounding facts, GWI is duty-bound to submit this statement to the 46th session of the Human Rights Council. The statement aims to heighten awareness about the critical digital learning crisis continuing as pandemic fallout and to motivate Member State’s commitment to domestic funding for education, including resources to support teachers. Youth advocates and women in educational sector leadership roles, like the women in the Forum for African Women Educationalists are critical to reimagining education and learning. Post COVID education systems must be more flexible, inclusive and equitable. Access the full statement HERE.