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COVID-19 is creating a girls’ education crisis in Ethiopia, threatening to reverse the country’s recent progress towards gender equality in education. Over the last two decades, the Ethiopian government has expanded its education system and made important gains for girls at the primary and secondary levels. The net enrolment rate in elementary school increased from 29% in 1989 to 86% in 2017. The same year the Gender Parity Index also reached 0.90 at the primary level and 0.87 at the secondary level. However, harmful traditional practices, social norms and poverty continue to prevent girls from completing their education, resulting in high dropout rates at the secondary level.
The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the already acute girls’ education crisis in Pakistan. Poverty, gender and marginalisation have intersected to accentuate inequalities, making it harder than ever for girls from poorer, rural households to learn. If leaders don’t act now, these girls may never return to school. In Girls’ education and COVID-19 in Pakistan, Malala Fund and our Education Champions highlight the impact of school closures on students in all four provinces with an emphasis on girls’ experiences. The report details the pandemic’s dire effects on household finances and how this economic crisis has the potential to prevent even more girls from completing their education.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected marginalised populations around the world. As schools close and classes move online, girls from underprivileged backgrounds struggle to access distance learning resources and devices like smartphones or tablets. Families also rely on daughters to help with domestic chores, taking away time from their studies. In this report, Malala Fund and our Education Champions lay out a roadmap for how government officials at all levels can ensure the safe, gender-responsive reopening of schools, alleviate the economic effects of the pandemic to help families prioritise education, protect education gains and build back India’s education system with gender at the centre to promote inclusive growth and ensure every girl can learn.
COVID-19 is creating a girls’ education crisis in Nigeria. Girls and young women are the first to be removed from school, the least likely to learn from home and the last to return to the classroom. Before the pandemic, the education system in Nigeria was already strained and characterised by stark gender inequalities.Now fears of COVID-19 and the economic consequences of the pandemic threaten to prevent even more girls from returning to the classroom. If leaders don’t act now, we risk losing another generation of girls.
Lucia Fry; Philippa Lei; Naomi Nyamweya (et al.)
This report uses insights from the 2014-15 Ebola epidemic and the 2008 global financial crisis to understand the short- and long-term consequences of COVID-19 for girls. Following the Ebola outbreak and school closures in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, enrolment rates for girls dropped. Increased rates of poverty, household responsibilities, child labour and teenage pregnancy as well as restrictive school policies prevented many girls from returning to the classroom. The epidemic also reduced funding for education as governments diverted funds to public health and put a strain on the preexisting teacher shortage. Girls' education and COVID-19 suggests how governments and international institutions can mitigate the effects of the current pandemic and help girls return to school, including finding ways to keep girls learning during the pandemic, factoring in gender when planning for reopening schools and making sure that education systems have adequate financing in the post-crisis months and years.
UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.
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