By Martha Leboho.
The One Billion Voices campaign launch for Education virtually launched today.
During a research by Global Campaign Education (GCE) over 1.5 billion children are said to have been affected since the inception of Covid in 2019 due to various reasons which include poverty and under developement among other issues.
The campaign is for learners who have been affected by Covid 19 pandemic Lockdown measures which is to run for the whole year of 2021.
The campaign’s aim is to secure an increase in public financing of education to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education for all by elevating the voices from the billion learners who have been affected by the COVID pandemic.
GCE President Refar Sabbah shared the learner’s experiences and call for urgent action.
The COVID- 19 pandemic has affected education of more than one billion children globally, worsening the existing global education financing crisis thereby impacting the progress of the entire Sustainable Development Agenda and specifically Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4).
“During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated 1.5 billion learners had their education stopped or interrupted.
Education systems continue to face a devastating crisis, the challenges around public financing and the ever-increasing pressure on resources for public services, are resulting in less prioritisation of education.
“While some learners have returned to school, the COVID-19 pandemic deepened digital exclusion of many especially vulnerable communities, including children with disabilities” Sabbah said.
He added that, GCE is calling for national government to increase state funding for education to 20% of public expenditure, to increase their tax base in order to increase resources, working towards a minimum tax to-GDP ratio of 20%.
He further highlighted that national government should provide free quality education for all and end the trend towards the privatisation and commercialisation of education, to improve the quality of teaching through adequate recruitment, remuneration and continued teacher training.
“Government should ensure inclusive educational systems and institutions, and to listen and respond to the voices of those affected. Space must be allowed for individuals and civil society to speak up” he said.
Recently, Zimbabwe Teachers Association (ZIMTA) chief executive Sifiso Ndlovu called upon government to come up with mitigatory strategies for the COVID-19 pandemic at schools inoder to facilitate their reopening amid a spike in corona virus in the country.
“We must save lives, but we cannot continue to destroy livelihoods because children have been affected a lot in terms of their education. Other countries have opened schools even though there is a pandemic” said Ndlovu.
He said government should come up with strong measures to alleviate the pandemic at the same time enabling schools to reopen. Ndlovu expressed fears that the girl child will be greatly affected.
Zimbabwe as of yesterday recorded 31 646 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 22 877 recoveries and 1 075 deaths.