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COVID-19 hits Afghan children hard, deprives millions of an education

COVID-19 lockdown in Afghanistan has had a devastating impact on children with eight out of ten saying they learned little or nothing during the pandemic, a Save the Children survey found.

The survey found that two-thirds (64 percent) of the children surveyed had no contact with teachers at all during lockdown.

Eight in ten children believed they had learned little or nothing since schools closed and less than one in every 20 children (4.6 percent) had at least one daily check-in with a teacher.

Three in every 10 (30 percent) children reported some violence at home during COVD-19 and one in three households in rural areas had difficulties accessing learning materials compared to one in five households in the urban areas.

Speaking to Afghan children and their families, Save the Children reported that the pandemic has only made life harder and more dangerous for families who have lived through conflict for decades.

Meena, an 11-year-old girl in Nangarhar province said: "COVID-19 has changed my life. I am again not able to go to school. I had gotten a chance to go to school for the first time and then COVID-19 changed everything.

"The impact of COVID-19 is huge in our life, we live under a tough situation. There is no proper food and medicine to survive. Since the outbreak, we havenít had three meals in a day because my father canít make enough money to provide us with enough food. Whenever we get sick we canít visit doctors due to poverty."

The organization stated that education had already suffered greatly in Afghanistan due to conflict and while some progress has been made in recent years, such as the passing of a new law last year which guarantees children equal access to education, many challenges remain.

Their report stated that before COVID-19, 3.7 million children in Afghanistan were already out-of-school and when schools closed due to the pandemic, nearly 10 million more lost access to education.

Christopher Nyamandi, Save the Childrenís Afghanistan Country Director, said: "To protect an entire generation of children from losing out on a healthy and stable future, the world needs to urgently step up with support for Afghanistan. Without education, Afghan children will be denied the opportunity to help rebuild their country.

"The needs of children and their opinions need to be at the center of any plans to build back what Afghanistan has lost over the past months, to ensure they donít pay the heaviest price."

Save the Childrenís research also found that across six Afghan provinces, just 28.6 percent of children can access distance learning programs through TV, 13.8 percent through radio programming, and 0.2 percent through the internet.

Girls have been more heavily impacted than boys by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the 3.7 million children that were already out-of-school, 60 percent are girls.

 

LINK: https://www.ansarpress.com/english/20213


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