Sunday, June 20, 2021
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Save The Children Calls For Governments To Address Global Education Crisis

Save the Children New Zealand is joining a global call
for leaders to address the worldwide education crisis that
has seen hundreds of millions of children shut out of their

More than 1.5 billion learners around the
world have had their schools closed due to COVID-19 since
the pandemic broke out in early 2020. More than one year on
from the outbreak, hundreds of millions of children have
still not returned to school, with Save the Children
predicting an estimated 10 million children are at risk of
never returning.

“For many children already facing
systemic barriers to education, such as poverty or
discrimination, leaving school means they are likely to drop
out forever as they have to work to help supplement the
family’s income, or may find themselves forced into
marriage,” Save the Children’s Advocacy and Research
Director Jacqui Southey says.

“As governments continue
to grapple with the health crisis and vaccine roll out,
we’re calling for leaders to help protect a generation of
learners by placing education at the top of the

“Education is a fundamental right. Before
COVID-19, education budgets were already declining globally,
and we need to ensure that governments don’t deprioritise
education further.”

Today, Save the Children is
launching ‘100 Days of Action’ – a worldwide callout to
leaders to prioritise education and get children safely back
to school. As part of this, thousands of children around the
world are taking action to fight for their education,
including a group of 52 teenage mothers and pregnant girls
in Uganda who have successfully appealed to re-enrol in
catch-up learning so that they might get the opportunity to
return to school, despite barriers like social stigma, lack
of childcare or financial support that see many never return
to education.

Ms Southey says that while the majority
of New Zealand’s tamariki were lucky to have avoided major
long-term disruptions to their schooling due to COVID-19,
the country is not immune to the barriers that impact
children’s education.

Says Ms Southey: “The recent
Child Poverty Related Indicators Report revealed the stark
impact of poverty on poor education attendance. Children in
homes with the lowest incomes regularly attend school just
42% of the time compared to children in the wealthiest homes
who report attendance rates of 77%. We urgently need to
address this disparity in our

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