Tuesday, 10 Aug 2021
The sudden and drastic pivot to remote learning as a result of school closures brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted children and young people around the world, but the significant disruption to education has had an even greater impact on those who were already experiencing marginalisation, finds a new report.
CBM has joined more than 20 other civil society organisations to contribute data and observations from the frontline of service delivery during COVID-19 to the new report An unequal pandemic: Insights and Evidence from Communities and Civil Society Organisations.
The report explores five key areas, including education, which have had a particularly profound impact on marginalized groups of people including people with disabilities during the pandemic.
It finds that the accessibility, availability and effectiveness of alternative education methods – necessary due to the widespread lockdowns and restrictions that have taken place across the globe – has driven the unequal impact on school and university closures on different groups of people.
For example, poorer people who do not have access to computers, smartphones, digital learning platforms and even electricity have more interruptions to learning than those who do have access.
For people with disabilities including vision impairments, access to quality education has been made even more challenging due to inaccessible resources or learning platforms that are difficult to navigate.
The impact of widespread school closures has been deeply felt in more ways than just education. The report outlines that the lack of school meals and other support services had resulted in some impoverished children going hungry and getting sick.
Some civil society organisations reported the flow-on effect from this was an increase in children and young people engaging in substance abuse, violence and developing significant mental health problems.
With COVID-19 still having a devastating impact across the globe, CBM continues to work with local partners on the ground to support communities to better face the risk of the pandemic.
This work includes supporting people with disabilities to maintain health and hygiene by providing safe, clean water for washing and drinking and cleaning products like soap, equipping partner hospitals and clinics with PPE including masks and gloves and ensuring emergency aid packages are available to those facing food crisis and starvation.