COVID’s Lost Learning: 70 Million Children Face Reading Crisis

70 million children face reading crisis
70 million children face reading crisis

More than half of the world’s 10-year-olds could be unable to read and understand a sentence by the end of the year, according to a new analysis by the ONE campaign. Rabeya Lima reports.

Here’re alarming facts that could paralyze a generation:

  • 70 million children could be affected in 2021, according to calculations based on figures released by the World Bank, UNESCO and UN population data.
  • According to UNESCO, the education of 1.7 billion children in 188 countries was heavily disrupted in 2020. UN estimated that nearly 500 million children, especially those in poorer countries or rural areas, have been excluded from remote education.
  • The pandemic contributed 17 percent to the total number of children falling victim to a global learning crisis that could hamper the potential of a generation.
  • According to the ONE campaign analysis, the learning crisis is expected to hit Africa and Asia particularly hard, with sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 40 percent of children at risk.
  • By 2030, the number of children lacking basic literacy by the time they turn 10 could rise to 750 million or approximately one in 10 people globally, the group warned.
  • “Unless we take urgent action, the legacy of the pandemic could be millions more children denied the chance to understand words on a page,” said David McNair, executive director for global policy at The ONE Campaign.

As a response to this crisis and before the G7 Sherpa meeting, the organization has urged governments to commit at least $5bn to fund the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), arguing that it will enable 175 million girls and boys to learn between 2021-2025.