This is the devastating impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on children from poor families
Johannesburg – The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the education of children from poorer backgrounds; widening the gap between rich and poor and boys and girls; a new global survey by Save the Children has revealed.
In the six months since the pandemic was announced, the most vulnerable children have disproportionately missed out on access to education, healthcare, food, and suffered the greatest protection risks.
The global survey has found two-thirds of the children had no contact with teachers at all, during lockdown; violence at home doubled during school closures.
The reported rate was 17% compared to 8% when the child was attending school in person.
The findings in the report titled "Protect A Generation" are based on the largest ever global survey of its kind since the Covid-19 pandemic. About 25 000 children and their caregivers shared their experiences, fears and hopes during this unprecedented global crisis.
Less than 1% of the poorer children interviewed had access to the internet for distance learning. Among households that classified themselves as non-poor, access to the internet was 19%. Around 37% of poorer families reported difficulties paying for learning materials, compared to 26% of families who classified themselves as non-poor.
Inger Ashing, chief executive of Save the Children, said: “Covid-19 has widened existing inequities. The poor became poorer, with a devastating impact on children’s access to healthcare, food, education and safety.
"To protect an entire generation of children from losing out on a healthy and stable future, the world needs to urgently step up with debt relief for low-income countries and fragile states.
"The needs of children and their opinions need to be at the centre of any plans to build back what the world has lost over the past months, to ensure that they will not pay the heaviest price.”