Education is an important factor in escaping poverty. In the past 10 years major progress was made towards improving access to education and enrollment rates at all levels, especially for girls. Nonetheless, 250 million primary school aged children were still out of school in 2018, almost one in five globally. More than half of all children and adolescents globally did not meet minimum proficiency levels in reading and mathematics.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused schools in many countries to temporarily close, impacting over 90% of students worldwide. This has an impact in particular on the hundreds of millions of children dependent on school meals for their daily nutrition.
Never before have so many children been out of school, with negative impacts on learning. This is particularly true for the most vulnerable and underprivileged. The pandemic has far reaching negative consequences for the progress made in improving global education.