According to British charity Save the Children, the world’s poorest children are faced with a ‘hidden education emergency’ due to the COVID-19 crisis
Education is in a state of crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic and by the time it is over nearly 10 million children may never return to school. Fund cuts to cope with the economic crisis triggered by the world health crisis and rising poverty will jeopardise education of millions of children, Save the Children has warned.
According to British charity Save the Children, the world’s poorest children are faced with a 'hidden education emergency' due to the COVID-19 crisis. Citing UNESCO data, it stated that almost 1.6 billion children were out of school by early April to prevent contracting or spreading the deadly viral infection.
The charity identified countries that are at maximum risk of stalling the progress towards attaining Sustainable Development Goal 4 in 2030, which is quality education for all children. So far, 12 countries have been identified that have the highest chances of falling the target. They are Afghanistan, Niger, Yemen, Pakistan, Mali, Chad, Liberia, Guinea, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire.
The primary reason behind this unfortunate turn out would be poverty, which would require children to take up 'jobs' to aid the family financially. That aside, budget cuts may also push the world’s poorest countries to reduce access to education.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Commenting on the situation, Inger Ashing, Chief Executive, Save the Children, said: “Instead we are at risk of unparalleled budget cuts which will see existing inequality explode between the rich and the poor, and between boys and girls.”
Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here(With inputs from AFP)