Ensure girls don’t drop out of schools due to pandemic, NGO urges education minister

NEW DELHI, Jul 12: Save the Children, an NGO working for child rights, has launched a petition urging Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to ensure learning continuity through equitable access to learning materials for girls so they do not drop out of school due to COVID-19.

The online petition which has been signed by over 30,000 people, including Bollywood actors Dia Mirza and Sanjana Sanghi, has called for “100 days of action” to reduce the loss of learning caused by closure of schools due to the pandemic.

“Ten million girls are at risk of never returning to school. The effects of COVID-19 crisis have put the promise of ‘education for all’ into jeopardy, casting a long shadow on their future,” the petition said.

“While school closures are an effective precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19, evidence from previous emergencies suggest that the longer children are unable to attend learning facilities, the more likely it is they will never return to school.

“The risk of children dropping out of school applies especially for girls and the most marginalised, including children of migrant families,” it added.

Development of low-tech and no-tech solutions, ensuring psychosocial wellbeing support to combat the impact of COVID-19 for children, parents, caregivers and educational personnel, uninterrupted provision of mid-day meal during closure of educational facilities and dedicated financial support to ensure continuity of learning of children who have lost both or one of their parents due to COVID-19 are among the recommendations in the petition. (PTI)