Advocacy Huge Financial Gap Looms in the Continent's Education Sector...

Huge Financial Gap Looms in the Continent’s Education Sector amid COVID-19 Pandemic

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Kenneth Afor |

An international organisation, Save the Children has projected that about $6.2 billion is needed to adequately fund the education sector in Africa in the next 18 months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This was cited in a report made public on Monday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

The huge financial gap in the sector which is caused by the pandemic has halted every form of socioeconomic activities during the heat of the spread of the disease in the continent and other parts of the world.

The lockdown directive by respective governments has left millions of school-aged children in the continent to lag behind in educational activities and the resultant effect of this according to the organisation could see millions of children in nine African countries at high risk of dropping out of school forever, young girls would be exposed to gender-based violence, child marriage and teen pregnancy and the possibility of the world facing education emergency in the coming months.

To ameliorate this, the organisation is calling on financial donors to suspend debt repayments by low-income countries globally which could free up $14 billion for investment in education.

While the pandemic lingers, experts have suggested that parents, educational institutions and government should key into e-learning for students to leverage on, but that might not make significant impact as about 89 percent of pupils in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have access to household computers, 82 percent lack internet access and around 28 million students live in locations without mobile network coverage.

Mercy Gichuhi, Country Director, Save the Children International, Nigeria, paints a gloomy picture of what the country could face if action is not taking.

“Even before the COVID-19 crisis, Nigeria is estimated to have over 10 million out of school children, one of the highest rates in the world. The impact of school closures extends beyond disruption to education; they also carry other risks to children.

“Children who are out of school are at greater risk of being recruited into labor, abuse, violence and exploitation, and for girls, they are more likely to never return to school when lessons re-commence.

“As pressures mounts on low income families, children may need to work to bolster family incomes, and girls will face a disproportionately larger burden for caring for family members who contract the virus and taking care of younger children.

“Therefore, there is a tendency that the situation could add millions more into the existing caseload of out of school children in Nigeria,” said Gichuhi.

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