Analysis published today by the child rights organisation found that it will cost an average of $370 per child to safely open schools again and get learning back on track in 59 of the world’s poorest countries. These new figures follow research from Save the Children last year, which suggested that almost 10 million children may never return to school – while noting that this is likely to be a significant underestimate.
“Without education, we would not have the success of the COVID-19 vaccines and the prospect of a safer world. Children who are currently out of school are our future doctors, scientists, truck drivers, and plumbers,” said Adrian Förster, CEO of Save the Children Switzerland. “If 2020 was the year of finding the vaccine, 2021 needs to be the year of investing in children’s future.”
As many countries cannot afford the cost, particularly as governments prioritise healthcare to tackle the second wave of the virus, international donors need to work with national governments to fully fund a plan to safely return all children back to school. The priority should be the poorest and most marginalised like girls, refugees and displaced children and children with disabilities, the organisation said.