Major Setback

There’s always a proportion of adults who have been pulled away from an opportunity of an education. This pandemic would likely increase it.

Photo by Edmund Lou on Unsplash

In poor countries, the barrier to leaving a poverty-stricken life is already high. The pandemic combined with poor governance will drive this barrier even higher.

During the initial wave of global lockdowns, I could not help but think of the poor that I wrote my thoughts here. The children who beg in the streets of Manila, the capital of the Philippines, were already aplenty before this pandemic. Now, school closures and job losses would have pushed many families to tap their children and their idle time as an easy source of labour. The working conditions they would be subjected to would barely be protected.

If families can barely eat three meals a day, these children will be pulled into working longer than the lockdown. The longer they are out of school, the more unlikely they are to return to school.

Years from now, we will hear of grown children whose life path was completely altered by lockdowns and school temporary closures. I’m referring to those who don’t return to school. They would have more challenges getting jobs, higher likelihood of producing more children than they could support, have poorer health choices, higher levels of desperation which could lead to crime, and so on.

If people recourse to policy to lower the barriers to escaping poverty, including having an education, maybe we can minimise this impact. Unfortunately in poor countries like the Philippines, many policy-makers are not voted based on policy-setting capabilities.

We probably do not see how big a setback this pandemic is and will continue to be.

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