The pandemic has exacerbated the disparities in education in the world, says UNESCO
PARIS — The pandemic of COVID-19, generating unprecedented disruptions in education, a source of fractures in social and digital, could undermine further the traditional left-to-account of education: the poor, girls, people with disabilities, highlights the united Nations Organization for education (UNESCO) on Tuesday on the occasion of the publication of a global report on education.
“The experiences of the past, such as with Ebola — have shown that the health crisis could leave a large number of people on the edge of the path, especially the poorest girls, many of whom may never return to school,” says the director of the UNESCO, science and culture, Audrey Azoulay, in the foreword of the report, entitled Inclusion and education — All of them, without exception.
Because everywhere, except in “high-income countries of Europe and North America, for every 100 young people among the richest, who are completing the second cycle of secondary education, they are only 18 and among the poorest young people to achieve it.” “In at least 20 countries, most of them located in sub-saharan Africa, virtually no young women in poor rural areas leads his secondary education at the end of their term,” states the global monitoring Report on education 2020 (UNESCO).
By 2018, sub-saharan Africa housed the largest cohort of young people not in school, exceeding for the first time in central and South Asia: 19 % of school age children, 37 % at the college level, 58 % of high school students potential.
In the world, nearly 260 million young people had no access to education or 17% of those of school age. And among the first to be excluded are the disadvantaged children, girls and girls, children with disabilities, those from ethnic and linguistic minorities, migrants…
Thus, “the 10 years old students of middle-income countries and high who received education in a language other than their mother tongue, generally score lower than 34% those of native speakers in tests of reading.”
Or again: “in 10 countries in low-and middle-income, children with disabilities were 19 % less likely to reach a minimum level in reading than those who are not disabled”. But everywhere, the disability may be a barrier to inclusion, especially because of the “beliefs-discriminatory parent” : “about 15 % of parents in Germany and 59 % in Hong Kong fear that children with disabilities do not disrupt the learning of others”.
And in the United States, “the students that sexual minorities were almost three times more likely to say that they had prefer to stay at home because they did not feel safe at school”.
The health crisis has more than ever highlighted these fractures : “The response to the crisis of the COVID-19, which has hit 1.6 billion learners, have not paid sufficient attention to the inclusion of all learners,” noted the authors of the report.
“While 55% of low-income countries have opted for the distance learning online in primary and secondary education, only 12% of households in the least developed countries have access to the Internet at home. Even the approaches that do not require a low-technological means that can ensure the continuity of learning. Among the 20 % of poorest households, only 7 % have a radio in Ethiopia, and none of television”, cite as an example.
“Overall, about 40 % of low-income countries and lower middle income have not been able to support learners at risk of exclusion”, they stress, without failing to point out the shortcomings of the rich countries: “in France, up to 8 % of the students have lost contact with the teachers after three weeks of confinement”.
On these various findings, the report develops a series of recommendations for inclusive education, starting with proactive policies, because “many governments” have not yet implemented the principle of inclusion. UNESCO also considers it necessary targeted funding.