Ensuring inclusive education for ethnolinguistic minority children in the COVID-19 era
Impressive regional progress on Sustainable Development Goal #4’s vision to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education” has been severely jeopardized by the COVID-19 pandemic. Marginalised children are at a greater risk and the gradual reopening of schools may introduce new challenges for them. Parents may hesitate to send their children back to school due to fear and a lack of understanding about COVID-19 guidelines. Long periods of school closure increase the chances of premature labour-pool entry for older children and early marriage for girls, making it more difficult for them to resume formal schooling. Children whose previous school experiences were negative may not want to return at all. This magnifies the challenge for the Asia-Pacific Region which is home to half of the world’s 7,117 living languages and to many ethnolinguistic groups.
This Guidance note aims to stimulate thinking into the unique challenges facing children from marginalized ethnolinguistic communities as they re-enter school or continue with various forms of distance learning during the COVID-19 era.