f girls’ education makes societies stronger, more peaceful and prosperous, then the chances of Asia achieving those goals have become more distant with the coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, girls’ enrollments in school had seen significant improvements in Asia. But with the pandemic, those gains have been wiped out.
UNESCO estimates that about 24 million learners, from pre-primary to university level, are at risk of not returning to school following the education disruption. Almost half of them are found in South and West Asia besides Africa.
Asia was doing well prior to the pandemic, having brought down the number of girls out of school from 30 million to 15 million in the last two decades.
Almost all Asian countries with the exception of Pakistan and Timor-Leste had fared well by sending girls to schools. In fact, with more girls in schools, Asia had posted decreasing trends in child marriage prior to the pandemic.
With the pandemic playing spoilsport, it will be difficult to sustain the tempo. With an estimated 200,000 more girls experiencing child marriage in South Asia in 2020, the figures are expected to skyrocket as the ordeal from the pandemic is still lingering in many Asian nations.