“I started working last year when my school closed due to the COVID-19 lockdown,” says 9-year-old Valentinne from Bolivia as she stands in front of her school with a blank notebook. The pandemic has turned her life upside down, forcing her to drop out. Without adequate digital devices and internet access at home, she was unable to continue her studies remotely. She now sells handkerchiefs on the streets.
We need to get students back in classrooms as soon as possible. The longer we wait, the less likely they are to return and the higher the risk of child labour, marriage, early pregnancy, violence and abuse. As governments work to reopen schools, keeping children learning and ensuring no one falls behind is critical.