A man is silhouetted against the logo of the World Bank at the main venue for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank annual meeting in Tokyo. REUTERS-Kim Kyung-Hoon

Despite the gradual reopening of schools worldwide following their shut down as a result of the outbreak of Coronavirus disease, no fewer than 700 million students are still locked out of school globally, with the majority of them being from low and middle-income countries like Nigeria.

Also, due to learning losses, that is the time lost to school closures, and the increases in drop out rates that the closures brought along, an estimated $10 trillion is lost in earnings.

This is part of a report released at the weekend by the World Bank titled “Urgent, effective action required to quell the impact of COVID-19 on education globally. ”

” 2020 marked a dramatically different childhood experience that these young people will remember for the rest of their lives, and a different teaching experience where teachers have had to rapidly adapt, be creative and shift roles.

“COVID-19 has created the worst crisis in education and learning in a century. Before COVID-19, there was a learning crisis, 258 million children of primary and secondary school age were out of school and learning poverty in low and middle-income nations was 53 per cent – meaning over half of the 10-year-old children couldn’t read and understand a simple text – in sub-Saharan Africa, it was close to 90 per cent.

“At the peak of the closure of schools in April 2020, 94 per cent of students or 1.6 billion children were out of school and even now, 700 million are still studying from home in huge uncertainty,” the report stated.


The Bank noted that the development had led to a contraction in family incomes leading to a higher level of school dropouts and that the situation had been aggravated by a huge reduction in government budgets.

It added that more girls were dropping out of school and many more into child marriage and adolescent fertility.

On the impact of the disease on tertiary education, the Bank said at the peak of the pandemic, 220 million tertiary education students were affected globally.

“Practical skilled and training not being able to hold in Technical and Vocational Education Training, TVET, due to social distancing, ” the report said, adding that negatively affected the impartation of necessary skills into students.

The Bank stated that in 2020, about $5.3 billion was committed by it to supporting education in low and middle-income nations and over $6.2 billion had been earmarked for the same purpose this year.

It added that its teams were working with countries along with three phases of COVID-19 response.

From the response, the Bank hopes to reach over 400 million students and over 16 million teachers globally.

The Bank concluded by saying that “the pandemic opens a once in a lifetime opportunity where long-overdue investments in technology, teachers and parents and communities might happen faster and better,” and urged nation to do the needful in that respect.

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