In all parts of the world, the COVID-19 crisis increases inequalities
“There is always a dispute between my parents regarding the income. Movement should not be restricted by the government as we poor ones are dying anyway with either the virus or hunger.” Bir Danuwar, 16 year- old boy from Nepal.
The COVID-19 crisis disproportionately impacts the most vulnerable populations, the poorest, refugees and migrant children and youth. It also exacerbates gender inequalities, with increased incidents of child abuse, gender-based violence, forced child marriages, teenage pregnancies and female genital mutilation.
Girls and boys with disabilities, who often live in some of the poorest families and face discrimination in their communities, are generally not prioritized in terms of education. During the crisis, they face an even higher risk of exclusion.
As children with disabilities are also more likely to drop out of school than their peers, there is an added risk that those who leave school now may never return.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, inequalities within and across countries have widened. Many learners have lost their daily lunch as a result of school closures as many countries failed to provide efficient short, medium and long-term solutions.
A large number of girls, boys, and adolescents from low-income families, and in rural areas do not have access to distance learning, especially computers and the Internet.
Addressing these challenges and many others require putting in place equitable and inclusive initiatives based on context and sensitive to the reality of families. This includes combining the use of radio, television, printed materials, as well as internet-based learning.
In Africa, education has been one of the sectors most impacted by COVID-19. In a bid to mitigate the short- and longer-term impact of school closures on learners and ensure continued learning, many countries have adopted distance learning mechanisms, but the results are far from ideal as distance learning courses are not accessible to the majority of the learners.
This is mainly the case of children living in remote rural areas that do not have access to Internet, TV and sometimes not even a radio. In many African countries distance learning has been so far rather hypothetical.