UNESCO report: Coronavirus has widen the education gap

This year’s is the fourth annual Unesco GEM Report to monitor progress across 209 countries in achieving the education targets adopted by UN member states in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Covid-19 has given us a real opportunity to think afresh about our education systems,” said GEM Report director Manos Antoninis.

The number of children in sub-Saharan African countries who are out of school has grown to surpass Asia’s with more than 38 per cent of school-age children in the continent out of school.

The report notes that 258 million children and youth were entirely excluded from education, with poverty as the main obstacle to access.In at least 20 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa, hardly any poor rural young women complete secondary school.

In low- and middle-income countries, adolescents from the richest 20 per cent of all households were three times as likely to complete lower secondary school as were those from the poorest homes.

Among those who did complete lower secondary education, students from the richest households were twice as likely to have basic reading and mathematics skills as those from the poorest households.

According to the 2020 Kenya National Housing and Population Census, about 12 per cent of children of school-going age were not getting any formal education.

The figure was relatively low (1.7 per cent) in children between the ages of 3 and 13, before rising to almost 10 per cent among children between the ages of 14 to 17 years.

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