International leaders from governmental, private, and non-profit sectors have joined Ranjitsingh Disale, a Global Teacher Prize 2020 winner from India, in calling for a greater emphasis on digital literacy and online learning for girls affected by the Ebola outbreak.
To guarantee that girls have equitable access to technology and digital skills training, the open letter demands action from the international community, as well as the protection of funding for girls’ education on both a national and international level, in the wake of COVID. One of the major challenges he has had as a teacher is turning around the low female attendance at his school.
As a result of COVID-19, a generation of girls will be left behind without action. The project is a result of the recent Building the Bandwidth Summit, which was organized by the UK-based Varkey Foundation, UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and the CJ Cultural Foundation. The letter, signed by Henrietta Fore, executive of UNICEF; Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO; and Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait, comes in response to growing concerns that the pandemic’s negative impact will result in approximately 11 million girls not returning to school.
Signatories to the letter are concerned that disparities and hazards to girls’ education will be exacerbated by diminishing resources as a result of the pandemic’s economic impact. “We will miss out on half of humanity’s potential if we don’t cultivate girls’ abilities, stimulate their curiosity and inspire their creativity”, said CJ CheilJedang’s executive vice president, Heekyung Jo Min. COVID-19 must not be allowed to deprive young women of a better future that is within their grasp if the planet acts now.
Sunny Varkey, Founder of the Global Teacher Prize, remarked, “COVID-19 threatens to turn back the clock on girls’ education by decades.” We know that technology can play a huge role in closing the education gap, but only if it reaches every child in every corner of the world, regardless of gender.”