UNESCO COVID-19 education response: how many students are at risk of not returning to school? Advocacy paper

UNESCO estimates that about 24 million learners, from pre-primary to university level, are at risk of not returning to school in 2020 following the education disruption due to COVID-19. Almost half of them are found in South and West Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. University students are affected the most, due to the costs related to their studies. Pre-primary education is the second most affected while at primary and secondary level 10.9 million students are at risk, 5.2 million of whom are girls. Socio-economic factors are behind this risk, including the need to generate income, increased household and child caring responsibilities, early and forced marriage and/or unintended pregnancy in certain contexts or fear of resurgence of the virus. Those who did not have access to distance education during confinement are also at risk. This advocacy paper calls on Governments and other partners to increase investments and efforts to remove barriers to education and take the necessary legal and policy actions to make school environments more conducive to students’ learning and well-being.

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