An estimated 20 million children do not attend preschool, 6.1 million are still out of school in the age group of 6-14 years, and around one-third of children do not complete the elementary education cycle. Additionally, for those in school, nearly 50% of children are not acquiring grade-appropriate learning competencies and skills. According to UNESCO, 47 million children drop out after the 10th class and 6 million at the primary level in India.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated inequalities in the education systems worldwide. The ongoing crisis could increase the number of children living in poor monetary households by up to 117 million by the end of 2020, according to the latest analysis from. UNICEF and Save the Children. Immediate loss of income often means families are less able to afford basics, including food and water, and are less likely to access health care or education. Lockdowns and shelter-in-place measures come with a heightened risk of children witnessing or suffering violence and abuse. Children in conflict settings and those living in unsanitary and crowded conditions are also at considerable risk.
According to UNESCO, about 40% of low and lower-middle-income countries have not supported learners at risk of exclusion during this crisis, such as the poor, linguistic minorities, and learners with disabilities. The 2020 Global Education Monitoring Report noted that efforts to maintain learning continuity during the pandemic may have actually worsened exclusion trends. During the height of school closures in April 2020, almost 91% of students around the world were out of school. Another report by the Tata Institute of Social Sciences titled ‘Assessment of Ground Preparedness for EdTech’ states that while teachers and educators have reasonably good access to devices and internet quality, most of their students do not have access to devices, internet, which is a challenge. Of the teachers that responded to the survey, only 47% of teachers said most of their students have access to smartphones and a mere 22% of them said that most of their students would have access to a good internet connection. With these two being crucial for online learning, it clearly shows how education has been impacted by these issues.