Press release - 24 January, International Education Day - School: a place to transmit COVID-19 or knowledge?

Photo credit: Arina Bzhinaev

Paris12 January 2022

Aide et ActionThe International Association for Development through Education (IDEA) is pessimistic about the current state of education, schools, children and young people in France and around the world. If measures are not taken now, the pandemic - which has already deprived millions of young people of their right to education - risks sacrificing the very future of entire generations. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the school, in France and in the world,  It crystallises fantasies, irrational fears, worries - real or supposed - about the dangers it represents as well as the hopes that everyone - parents, teachers, pupils and public authorities - place in it. In this respect, the school reveals the central place it occupies in the collective imagination: the privileged place of all education, but also of the transmission of a little-known virus that is difficult to control. The difficulties in replacing teachers affected by COVID-19 and the storm surrounding their "absenteeism" once again highlight the passions that schools arouse, particularly in France.

About two years ago, at the height of the crisis, 1.6 billion learners were out of school worldwide. 24 million children and young people, including 11 million girls, are at risk of not returning to school. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1 in 7 children have been directly affected by long-term or short-term containment measures. 

The pandemic has already denied millions of young people their right to education, exacerbated a pre-existing learning crisis, and now threatens the very future of entire generations. The World Bank, UNESCO and UNICEF estimate that, as a result of school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the current generation of students stands to lose $17 trillion in lifetime earnings in present value terms, or about 14% of current global GDP. 

In the field, in its projects, Aide et Action is mobilizing to fight against the COVID-19 and its consequences on access to education (see our files " Education Emergency " & " Response to COVID-19 ").

Furthermore, Aide et Action urges governments to : 

  • To reopen schools, as soon as possible, in compliance with sanitary conditions and barrier gestures, and/or to develop educational alternatives that are truly accessible to all children.
  • Ensure that teachers are supported and trained to deal with the most vulnerable children.
  • To ensure that unavailable teachers are replaced to allow for good educational continuity,

More globally, we call for the construction and implementation of free, inclusive and quality education systems to ensure that all children, especially the most marginalised, have the right to a quality education. It is also important to allocate adequate human and financial resources to these education systems so that no one is left behind. This is why we call on the donor countries of development aid to prioritise aid to education and in particular to basic education. 


About Aide et Action 

For over 40 years, Aide et ActionThe International Association for Development through Education ensures access to quality education for the most vulnerable and marginalised populations, especially children, girls and women, so that they can control their own development and contribute to a more peaceful and sustainable world. 

Because access to quality education helps to fight poverty and disease, limit climate change and build peace in a sustainable world, we promote lifelong learning. We therefore pay particular attention to early childhood care and education, access to and quality of education at primary and secondary levels, and vocational training and social inclusion. 

Based on the values of dignity, inclusion and integrity, as well as on the principles of transparency, accountability and solidarity, and thanks to the support of our 51,000 donors, we are currently running 85 projects in Africa, Asia, Europe - and particularly in France - for nearly 3 million children, young people and adults. 


Anne Cassiot, Press/Public Relations Manager
[email protected]
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