Children with special learning needs also suffer greatly since education spaces do not cater for their needs.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal Number 4 calls for nations to invest in inclusive and equitable education for all. Inclusive education refers to the process of strengthening the education system to cater for all learners regardless of any challenges they may have. Ensuring access to education for all is crucial to achieving social and human development, environmental protection and economic prosperity.
Building peaceful and equitable societies must begin with inclusive education systems that meet the needs of all learners.
The disruptive impact of Covid-19 on schooling has created a sense of urgency to accelerate investments in education so as to ensure no child is left behind.
Of greater urgency is overcoming barriers to inclusive education. This entails creating access to quality learning opportunities for all children.
Investing in better school facilities translates into positive academic outcomes and the overall well-being of students.
More importantly, it enables them to improve their lives and build a better future for themselves.
Priority should be accorded to ensuring children in disadvantaged populations, especially girls, children with disabilities, and those from poorer families are able to access quality education. This will help reduce inequalities in education that are manifesting themselves sharply owing to the economic and social consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
The rallying call for inclusive and equitable education is that no child should be left behind or discriminated against on account of physical disabilities or socio-economic disadvantages. This involves eliminating all barriers to learning opportunities.
Removing barriers to education, in turn, requires long-term strategic investments geared to improving access to learning facilities and opportunities. However, this role should not be left to the government alone but demands the involvement of all individuals and institutions of goodwill.