For the past seven months, students across the globe remained indoors home during a global lockdown as all countries tried to prevent further spread of the deadly covid-19 pandemic.
However, as countries gradually relax stringent measures that had been sternly implemented to prevent social gatherings and close contacts between people, school are now bracing for re-opening despite having the virus around with no signs of leaving.
There is a need to rethink on how schools can reopen gates and allow students return to learning. Under the new context of Covid-19, budget allocations to the Education sector may be affected and thus a direct effect on learning of students.
According to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the pandemic has caused a major disruption in education which may affect the SDG targets in this area. “The global education disruption is ‘generational catastrophe,” UNESCO said on Thursday.
The UN chief Antonio Guterres has also called on governments to strengthen their systems to prevent widening inequalities in learning amid Covid-19.
“Ccovid-19 may increase the financing gap by up to 30%,” says Global Education Monitoring Report published by UNESCO. “Education budgets need to be protected if not increased,” said Stefania Giannini the Assistant Director General for Education at UNESCO.
For President Paul Kagame who has taken part in a consultation convened by UNESCO and the Co-Chairs of the SDG Advocates Group, “In Rwanda, we are counting on close collaboration between national stakeholders, including clear communication with citizens, to help us stay focused on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.”
He added that the international cooperation with UNESCO, the African Union, and other global partners, is an important part of these efforts, “I thank you for drawing attention to the critical issue of education, as we play our part in building and education system for the future.”
Kagame said in his remarks that countries are in the midst of determining how to safely re-launch learning in the context of the Covid-19 Pandemic, and mitigate the long-term effects on education outcomes.
“The priority actions outlined by UNESCO cover the key areas requiring our urgent attention. Ensuring the health and safety of learners is paramount. The stakes are very high for African Countries, where the youth population is growing. This means finding creative ways to not only protect education financing but also increase it.”