Education and human rights are both important tools for the advancement of mankind. However, both education and human rights are interlinked. Education brings awareness among people, educated people do not accept atrocities on them or others, and education leads to questioning political elites and demands that society and political class take specific care to serve their needs. Therefore, there is a need to understand Current Issues in Education and Human Rights. An understanding is required given that today education is required more than at any point in time.
In my opinion, one very big issue connected to education and human rights is the digital divide. The World Economic Forum in its report has stated that “Fewer than 1 in 5 people in the least developed countries are connected (Broom, 2020)” to the internet or have access to online mediums. The impact of the low-level penetration of the internet is being felt in the developing world, especially during the Pandemic. UNICEF has reported that “Two-thirds of the world’s school-age children – or 1.3 billion children aged 3 to 17 years old – do not have internet connection in their homes” (Thompson, 2020). The equivalent number for the age group 15 to 24 years is “759 million or 63 percent unconnected at home” (Thompson, 2020). The consequence is the denial of the right to education a human right under the UDHR because of the inability to travel to school like in normal times due to pandemic prevention measures.
The next issue is the ever-present structural barriers to education that will only be exacerbated by the pandemic. These barriers have only been exacerbated by the Pandemic. The World Bank predicts that “COVID-related school closures risk pushing an additional 72 million primary school-aged children into learning poverty—meaning that they are unable to read and understand a simple text by age 10″ (The World Bank, 2020). Moreover, due to the pandemic, World Bank also predicts that it could increase the “percentage of primary-school-age children in low- and middle-income countries living in learning poverty to 63 percent from 53 percent, and it puts this generation of students at risk of losing about $10 trillion in future life-time earnings (The World Bank, 2021)”. These are again human rights issues because they are in one sense a denial of the right to employment and education of human beings due to the pandemic. These statistics also show that states need to do more to combat the issue of learning poverty.
Finally, there will also have to be a focus on social ills that can create barriers to education and exacerbate human rights situations in fragile countries. Earlier, this year UNICEF reported that “10 million additional girls at risk of child marriage due to COVID-19” (Wylie, 2021). There are many other issues like child marriage that have to be dealt with if there is any possibility of children’s education not being compromised and ensuring the long-term prosperity of people.
- Broom, (2020). Coronavirus has exposed the digital divide like never before, Retrieved from Click the Link
- Thompson, (2020). Two-thirds of the world’s school-age children have no internet access at home, a new UNICEF-ITU report says. Retrieved from: Click the Link
- Pandemic Threatens to Push 72 Million More Children into Learning Poverty—World Bank outlines a New Vision to ensure that every child learns, everywhere, (2020). Retrieved from: Click the Link
- Wylie, (2021). 10 million additional girls at risk of child marriage due to COVID-19. Retrieved from: Click the Link