COVID-19 may result in an unprecedented increase in girls out-of-school …
More than 15 million girls in the East Asia and Pacific (EAP) region were not enrolled and able to gain an education before COVID-19:1 Concerted efforts by governments across the region halved the overall number of girls out-of-school from 30 million to 15 million over the past two decades. These notable achievements towards girls’ access to education on a regional level hide significant variability at the country level. In Mongolia and the Philippines, for example, 73% and 63% respectively of primary school aged children out-of-school were girls before COVID-19.2
These trends are expected to be exacerbated by COVID-19. While recent research does not always agree on the exact extent of the negative impact of COVID-19 on school enrolment, all authors agree that the negative impact will be sizeable and lasting if not addressed.
Globally, 20 million additional secondary-aged girls could drop out of school due to COVID-19: Research by the Malala Fund based on dropout rates after the Ebola and financial crisis in 2014/15 and 2008 respectively estimates that 20 million additional girls globally could drop out of secondary schools alone.3 Following the Ebola crisis, girls in Sierra Leone were 16% less likely to be in school and girls in Guinea 25% less likely following school closures in these countries of between six to eight months – similar to the length of school closures in some countries in the East Asia and Pacific region. As the research focuses on secondary-aged girls only, the actual number of girls – primary to secondary aged – potentially not continuing their education on school reopening could be significantly higher.
In the East Asia and Pacific region, more than 1.2 million girls could drop out of school due to COVID-19:
Research conducted by UNESCO estimates that more than 1.2 million additional girls (from pre-primary to upper secondary)4 may drop out or not have access to school next year in countries of the East Asia and Pacific region due to the pandemic’s socio-economic impact including the need to generate income, increased household and child caring responsibilities, early and forced marriage and/or unintended pregnancy. Those who did not have access to distance education during government-imposed lockdowns are at particular risk of dropping out.
Click here to read the full report.
Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.
Featured image is from UNICEF Laos/2020/AKarki