According to Save the Children, one billion children worldwide are currently out of school because of coronavirus lockdowns [1A]. Roughly half these do not have access to distance learning.
Children kept home from school are likely to lose learning and fall behind. They are, also, more vulnerable to abuse, as there is no one to intervene on their behalf.
Expenditures on the coronavirus (and increasing poverty as a result of the lockdowns) are expected to create a $77 billion gap in education funding for the world’s poorest children, over the next 18 months [2A]. Those living in overcrowded migrant camps and conflict zones will be the hardest hit [1B].
As many as ten million children will not return to school at all, forced into the labor market or early marriage [2B]. These will be mostly girls, further deepening the educational divide which already exists along wealth and gender lines.
Teen pregnancy and child marriage are both predicted to increase.
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22: 6).
We educate children because they are our future. Through education, we try to prepare them for eventualities we cannot predict.
What we can predict is that their lives will be immeasurably more difficult without education. Their choices will be limited; their very lives, shortened.
Education necessarily requires an investment on our part – an investment of time, effort, and money. Children should be worth it to us. But are they?
Save the Children is urging that the World Bank (which provides advice, research, and financing to developing nations) make $35 billion available for education funding, and that commercial creditors suspend debt repayment by low-income nations [2C]. The latter would free up another $14 billion for education.
A total of $47 billion – to offset the shortfall of $77 billion – still sounds like a big number.
Put another way, is the life of a child worth $4900? If not, we can count those ten million children among the other coronavirus losses.
[1A and 1B] Save the Children, Coronavirus Response Fund, https://support.savethechildren.org/site/Donation2?df_id=4008&4008.donation=form1&cid=Paid_Search:Google_Paid:Health_Coronavirus:Brand:031820&ds_e=GOOGLE&s_kwcid=AL!9048!3!431320276733!b!!g!!%2Bsave%20%2Bthe%20%2Bchildren%20%2Bcorona&ds_c=gp+-+Emergency+-+Brand&ds_ag=coronavirus%7Cbrand&ds_k=%2Bsave+%2Bthe+%2Bchildren+%2Bcorona&gclid=Cj0KCQjw6uT4BRD5ARIsADwJQ1_8xc2b_AoeuiSQ9hamJkZS7gTkkzGOAcvnsx3YawAvHkoeuBndjloaAoLoEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds.
[2A, 2B, and 2C] Save the Children, “Almost 10 Million Children May Never Return to School Following Covid-19 Lockdown”, https://www.savethechildren.net/news/almost-10-million-children-may-never-return-school-following-covid-19-lockdown.
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