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Global poverty, education, and the pandemic

ELIZABETH RIPPEL

Lock Haven

An estimated 767 million people were estimated to be living in extreme poverty in 2017, living on less than $1.90(USD) a day. One of those 767 million, Children are unfortunately more affected by extreme poverty than adults, and twice as likely to live in extreme poverty conditions.

The COVID-19 pandemic as not helped with these matters, increasing unemployment and the number of people living in poverty globally. The World Bank is states we are facing the harshest education crisis in a century, causing many children to fall behind in their education. “We are risking losing a generation while we are all focusing in combatting COVID and its direct health and economic impacts,” stated Axel van Trotsenburg, World Bank Managing Director of Operations.

Ensuring the next generation is educated could reduce poverty rates significantly. Education can improve the health for the one eighth of children who are malnourished by teaching them what a proper diet is and teach them how to increase food production when they move into the working field.

A study consisting of 13 countries found that if basic education rates increase just 8.7% it reflected in an increase in grain production.

Education helps reduce poverty rates, especially when woman and girls are educated. If females finish even basic primary school, it reduces child mortality rates by 17%. Educated women are better able to recognize the signs of health issues in their children and in pregnancy, making them more likely to seek help. Sex education also reduces the number of children a woman will have during her life, reduces the strain on resources and over population.

Education also increases someone’s income as well as increase the rate of return on the economy for a country. Vietnam is a perfect example of this concept, they modernized their education system in the 90’s. This allowed them to move from one of the poorest countries to increasing their GDP 3,303%!

Due to the pandemic it is expected the amount of 10-year-olds in low to middle-income countries who are unable to read will increase from 53% to 63% due to school closures. It is also estimated 10 million children will permanently drop out of school. This will cause a huge disruption in global poverty and set the UN back from their goal of eradicating extreme global poverty by 2030.

To rectify this the World Bank, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office, UNICEF, and USAID are partnering together to launch the “Accelerator Program.” These powers will pool together their resources and expertise to assist countries in their implementation to achieve their targets in reducing Learning Poverty. Girls though are at an especially high risk to drop out of school and fail to meet education goals.

Along with the Accelerator Program it is important for the United States to pass the “Keeping Girls in School” Act in order to empower girls around the glove and protect US national security interest. This bill was introduced into Congress April of 2019, but it is more important than ever for it to be passed now. The bill as referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations April 9, 2019 and currently has nine co-sponsors from both the Democratic and Republican parties.

For information on how to encourage your representatives to co-sponsor the bill please visit www.borgenproject.org/action-center/.

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