Up to 20% of Girls Around the World Have Not Returned to School

Dóchas along with members working in Education around the world to appear before the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence.

08 Feb 2022

Photo caption: Yoon Thiri, a Maths and English Teacher with the Burmese Migrant Secondary Programme (BMSP) supporting students and their education with weekly home visits during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, which closed schools in the community. Photo courtesy of Marist Asia Foundation.

At an appearance on 8 February, Dóchas representatives informed members of the Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence that while school closures affected over 90% of the world’s student population in more than 200 countries, many girls in the most marginalised communities did not return to school when they re-opened.

According to research from the Brookings Institute published last September, when schools reopened after six months of closure in Uganda and Kenya, a far lower percentage of girls returned to schools than boys, in some cases up to 20% of those girls failed to return.

In addition to this a study of nearly 400 of the hardest-to-reach rural adolescent girls in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda found that 34 percent had lost a parent or guardian to COVID-19, 70 percent were forced to work due , and 86 percent could not afford to return to school.

Speaking to the committee, CEO of Dóchas Jane-Ann McKenna said that “this unprecedented disruption to education has rolled back substantial gains made as part of Sustainable Development Goal 4 on Education in recent decades. In early 2020, it was predicated that getting children into primary schools was one of only two goals likely to be achieved. It goes without saying that this is now not the case.”

But there is hope, Ms. McKenna went on to say “Despite many challenges, including the threat of violence and insecurity, communities across the globe, with the support of Dóchas members, are working to provide thousands of children with a chance for quality education. We are asking for the support of the committee members in ensuring this continues.”

Dóchas and its members are specifically asking for the committee’s support in several areas including, helping to ensure the right to a free education for all children, monitoring the implementation of SDG 4 (quality education) to endeavour to reach the furthest behind first, and ensuring that dedicated funding and support is given to education in emergency and conflict settings.

Dóchas was joined at the Oireachtas committee hearings by Fr Frank Bird who is the Director for the Marist Asia Foundation who have been supported by Misean Cara to carry out a Burmese Migrant Secondary Education Programme in Ranong, on the Thailand Burma Border in Southern Thailand, Laban Onisimus, Education Lead and Acting Head of Social Development Programmes with Plan International in Nigeria, and by Ahmed Ali Dirshe working with Concern Worldwide in Somalia.

The session can be viewed by clicking here.

Photo Caption: New students of the Marist Asia Foundation have their first experience in a school with a library and an opportunity to learn and read books in the Myanmar, Thai and English Languages. Photo courtesy of Marist Asia Foundation.





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