The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated global inequalities

According to UNESCO, the Covid-19 pandemic, which generates outstanding disruptions in education, the source of social and digital divisions, would further weaken traditional neglected education: the poorest children, girls and the disabled.

In connection with the publication of a world report, UNESCO on Tuesday, June 23, frightened over the situation of education after the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the UN, the virus has caused unmatched disruption.

“Past experience, as with Ebola, has shown that health crises can leave a large number of people on the road, especially the poorest girls, many of whom may never return to school,” confirms UNESCO Director Audrey Azoulay in the preface to the report, with the title “Inclusion and education – All, without exception”.

Because everywhere, except in “the high-income countries of Europe and North America, for 100 of the richest young people graduating from high school, they are only 18 among the poorest young people to achieve this.” “In at least 20 countries, most of them located In sub-Saharan Africa, virtually no poor young woman from rural areas has completed her secondary studies, “notes this UNESCO World Education Monitoring Report 2020.

In 2018, sub-Saharan Africa was the largest group of young people out of school, exceeding for the first time Central and South Asia: 19% of schoolchildren, 37% at the college level, 58% of potential high school students.

Globally, almost 260 million young people had no access to education, or 17% of school-age children. And among the first excluded are disadvantaged children, girls and young girls, children with disabilities, those from ethnic or linguistic minorities, migrants …

Thus, “ten-year students from middle and high-income countries who have been taught in a language other than their mother tongue generally score 34% lower than those who have a mother tongue reading test”.

Limited internet access

Or: “In ten low-income and middle-income countries, children with disabilities are 19% less likely to achieve the lowest level of reading than those who are not disabled.” But everywhere, disability can be an obstacle to inclusion, especially because of “discriminatory conceptions of parents”: “About 15% of parents in Germany and 59% in Hong Kong fear that children with disabilities will interfere with learning Other”.

And in the United States, “LGBT students were almost three times more likely to say that they might have preferred to stay home because they didn’t feel safe at school.”

The current health crisis has highlighted these cracks more than ever: “The responses to the Covid-19 crisis, which affected 1.6 billion students, have not paid enough attention to include all students,” the authors of the report said.

“Although 55% of low-income countries have chosen to use distance education online in primary and secondary school, only 12% of households in least-developed countries have access to the Internet at home. Even the methods that only require limited technical resources cannot guarantee the continuity of learning. “Among the poorest 20% of households, only 7% have radio in Ethiopia and no one has TV,” they quote. , for example.

“Overall, about 40% of low-income and low-income countries have failed to support students at risk of exclusion,” they point out and do not forget to point out the shortcomings in the rich countries: France, up to 8% of students have lost touch with teacher after three weeks of confinement. “

On these various findings, the report draws up a series of recommendations for inclusive education, beginning with proactive policies, as “many governments” have not yet implemented the principle of inclusion. Unesco also believes that targeted funding is necessary.

With AFP