COVID-19 impacts girls’ education in South Asia
As the world continues to struggle to reduce the spread of COVID-19, its effects on children’s education are becoming more visible. The impact on girls’ education is particularly challenging in South Asia where one-third of all girls out of school in the developing world live.
Gender inequality in South Asia
Before COVID-19, girls in South Asia were already two times more likely to experience huge challenges in education and development compared to boys.
- According to UNICEF 50% of girls marry before the age of 18 even though child marriage is against the law.
- Widespread poverty in the region has reduced children’s opportunity to attend school.
- Educating girls in South Asia is often frowned upon because it’s not considered appropriate for them to learn at a higher level than their countries’ norm.
As a result, girls in South Asia have much lower educations levels than boys.
How COVID-19 is affecting South Asian girls’ education
Despite these gender gaps, the international community, including South Asia, was showing significant improvement in girls’ education in recent decades. However, the closure of schools due to COVID-19 has interrupted children’s learning. Because of this, many girls will drop out of education. What’s more, slashes in global education funding due to the pandemic will cause an increase in existing gender inequalities.
What can be done?
Implementation of online teaching strategies seems to be the most effective way to keep children learning during COVID-19 lockdowns. Nonetheless, this means South Asian governments must invest funds in their education systems to ensure both girls and boys have access to resources needed for online education.
Fostering partnerships to ensure communities implement gender-sensitive responses to these challenges is important too. Such steps can build a road to improve girls’ education in South Asia both during and after COVID-19 to help bridge the gap.
How is your community facing the effects of this global crisis in education?