Governments should act swiftly to redress the harm caused to children’s education in the wake of the unprecedented disruption from the Covid-19 pandemic, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Human Rights Watch accompanied its report with an interactive feature exploring common barriers to education exacerbated during the pandemic.
The 125-page report, “‘Years Don’t Wait for Them’: Increased Inequalities in Children’s Right to Education Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic,” documents how Covid-related school closures affected children unequally, as not all children had the opportunities, tools, or access needed to keep on learning during the pandemic. The heavy reliance on online learning exacerbated the existing unequal distribution of support for education, Human Rights Watch found. Many governments did not have the policies, resources, or infrastructure to roll out online learning in a way that ensured that all children could participate on an equal basis.
Temwani, 11, Zambia: 2020 was a hard year.
Annie, 16, Grassy Narrows First Nation, Canada: School was cut out about six months ago in November 2020, it is now April, almost May, 2021, so that’s six months.
Zadie and Mika, 6, Canada: This is our school and we haven’t been here for many weeks. And now we do work online.
Vuyisenani, 17, South Africa : 1.4 billion students were shut out of schools in 190 countries because of Covid-19.
Zadie and Mika, 6, Canada: Now we have to spend all day in front of a computer. And we can’t see any of our friends and teachers.
Sesili, 7, Republic of Georgia: I hate online school. I want to go to school.
Parwanai, 17, Ritsona Refugee Camp, Greece: This one is a container that we use to have it as a space for the children and for everyone to have access to some lessons.
Covid-19 showed us how unequal education is for kids around the world. And we will probably see the effects for years to come.
Annie, 16, Grassy Narrows First Nation, Canada: Grassy Narrows is located an hour north/from the nearest city. We don’t have sort of schooling, no online, absolutely no school. Because internet is quite expensive.
Temwani, 7, Zambia: The introduction to online learning was a real struggle for me because I didn’t have the digital equipment such as a smart phone, a laptop or computer to access online school.
Vuyisenani, 17, South Africa: School was shut down for five months and we weren’t doing anything./Even before Covid hit, our schools were struggling.
Parwana, 17, Ritsona Refugee Camp, Greece: We have been far from the school and education for years and even with no answer from the ministry of education in the pandemic and it made the condition of education in the camp very serious and critical.
Vuyisenani 17, South Africa: Kids around the world showed that we all have something in common: we want to learn and we want to work hard.
Zadie and Mika, 6, Canada: Now it’s time for the government to do the work. Opening the doors is just the beginning.
Narrator: Education should be at the core of every country’s recovery plans.
Gor, 16, Armenia: Quality education should be accessible to everyone, including me.