24 million children who previously attended school may never return to their classrooms following the easing of national lockdowns. This warning from UNESCO is particularly bleak considering the already urgent education crisis, with hundreds of millions of children around the globe reaching adulthood without basic numeracy and literacy skills. 

The children from the most marginalised backgrounds are the ones who are least likely to return to school. The economic strains of the pandemic often means they need to work to support their families instead of attending lessons. They need your help to get #BackToChildhood, because the alternatives to education often strip the childhoods away from vulnerable children.

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What happens if children don’t go back to school? 

A girl in Cambodia doing household chores

  • Child marriage will increase

A lack of education disproportionately affects women and girls, exacerbating gender inequalities. When they don’t attend school, opportunities for girls are limited and they are often forced into early marriages. It is estimated that Covid-19 has put 2.5 million more girls at risk of underage marriage, violating their rights and directly correlating to an predicted increase in gender-based violence. 

  • Poverty will become more widespread

Without an education, it is almost impossible to break out of poverty. Going to school changes this. For each additional year of schooling, an individual’s income increases by up to 10%. If all students in low income countries acquired basic reading skills, 171 million people could be lifted out of poverty. 

  • Health and wellbeing will decline

The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the importance of global healthcare and access to health information. Education is inextricably linked to health and the benefits are lifelong. A child whose mother can read is 50% more likely to live past the age of 5 and 50% more likely to be immunised. 

At United World Schools, we’re determined to ensure every child returns to the classroom. Our #BackToChildhood campaign is raising funds to break the barriers that stop children going back to school. 


What are we doing to get children back to education?

Socially distanced learning

  • Community outreach

We’ll be working closely with parents to encourage them to send their children back to school. This includes household engagement visits and running exciting back-to-school campaigns within communities to encourage them to see the transformational value of education.

  • Identifying and supporting vulnerable children

We’re providing further training to our teams so they can identify children most at-risk of not returning to school. We’ll then provide direct support to these children and their families to support them to return to the classroom. This includes providing additional learning materials, flexible learning options and awareness lessons. 

  • Ensuring our schools are Covid-secure

We’re providing PPE to keep students and teachers safe. We’re also bringing in more equipment like desks to ensure social distancing is possible, and providing additional learning resources to avoid potential cross-contamination of shared resources. We’re keeping our handwashing facilities open and monitoring them for safety. 

When a child drops out of school, the alternatives can be dangerous. But for every child we get back to school, they can get back to learning, playing and building the future they want for themselves

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