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The Omicron Scare

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While the perceived ‘Red Scare’ following World War II on the fear of the potential rise of communism, anarchism, and other leftist ideologies infiltrating and subverting U.S. society and the federal government led to hysteria; today the fear of the pandemic undermining freedom and liberties in the U.S. and western democracies is very real. The ‘Omicron Scare’ has neatly become the variant of hysteria further leading from a narrative built on a dystopian society to that of a quasi-Marxist utopian civilization.  

Due diligence to investigate the omicron variant is required instead of the unwarranted and erratic decisions to manifest further lockdowns, mandates, blame, and travel bans unless of course there is a eminent plan of oppression being advanced. Officials keep telling us to follow the science; and yet governments around the world decided to ‘act beyond an abundance of caution’. If we gave this some thought, omicron may be just what we need – a variant that mutated from a more deadly Delta variant and produces very mild cold and flu symptoms where it simply becomes the dominate variant with little to no deaths or impact on humanity.

Dr. Angelique Coetzee, the South African doctor who informed the world of the new variant, was bewildered to see the world turned upside down over a virus where no one dying, mild symptoms, and those already vaccinated being infected. Coetzee said, “I have been stunned at the response. No one has in South Africa has been hospitalized with the omicron variant, nor has anyone believed to have fallen seriously ill with it.”

The initial reaction by the rich nations of the world was a travel ban on South Africa and five neighboring countries. One of the countries, Namibia, a country with 2.5 million inhabitants, had no omicron cases and only 400 total reported COVID cases, was blacklisted in the travel ban yet northern European countries with numerous omicron cases were still allowed to travel to countries that were banning African travelers.

I am far from woke in making everything racist, yet I might consider playing this card in this instance where it is not logical to isolate, punish, and inflict economic hardships on the part of the world that can least afford to be shut out. We know full well what the political left and the media would be saying if the former President, Donald Trump, executed this ban on mostly black nations. Biden criticized then-President Trump’s travel bans in the early days of the pandemic as “xenophobic”.    

Countries throughout the world; specifically, those with democratically elected governments, have what they needed to push through further on their agenda of retaining power and control under the guise of another round of fear with the omicron variant. It is no surprise that the target of their actions is to leverage this latest variant scare to go after the remaining unvaccinated population. China, unlike democracies, have no need to create a fear-driven narrative in forcing vaccinations on their population while Western nations are in catch up mode, and the lesser influential countries are really of no consequence in the overall ploy and simply fall in line with globalists.

During a Biden – Dr. Anthony Fauci news conference on the omicron variant, they were both emphatic that the vaccine is the only way out of this new threat. Biden claimed the reason for the travel ban was to give people an opportunity to get vaccinated before it moves around the world to America and before it is too late. While Joe’s message was for the unvaccinated, Fauci stated that the boosters or third shots is likely to offer cross protection against the variants and we have every reason to believe that people will have some degree of protection. The words likely, believe, and some degree is not too assuring for a man that advocates the science.  

Most reports coming in has seen the vaccinated being infected by the omicron variant. Perhaps it is the third shot or the new and improved version being developed and marketed for 2022 that will make the difference.  Their tag-team presser did have some immediate impact with vaccinations hitting 2.2 million doses administered in America over a 24-hour period.

While the good cops had their say, the bad cops followed in behind with more draconian measures on the heels of omicron. CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the CDC is working on expanding a surveillance program at the busiest airports where airlines will be required to provide lists of travelers for testing, tracking, and forcing quarantines.  It is quite absurd to be going after vaccinated law-abiding people paying to enter the country; yet hundreds of thousands of people entering illegally across the southern border are not being tested. It is estimated that 20% of the illegals are entering with COVID infections as they spread the virus to all corners of America. This is a sham! If the government really cared, the resources would be diverted to the border; however, this would impugn the government’s agenda.

Unbeknownst to most Americans, Congress passed the most egregious surveillance legislation known as H.R. 550 Immunization System Data Modernization and Expansion Act, a $400 million computerized data base that allows the CDC to record vaccine doses administered across America. While regimes around the world rolled out vaccine passport systems, America by privacy design had lacked the overreach by an overbearing central government.  

This legislation would enable the federal government to share crucial information with local authorities and track unvaccinated Americans who will be targeted and forced to comply with global vaccination vision. The bill’s author said the system will notify people when they are due for their next vaccination and identify areas with low vaccination rates. The bill will also award funding to health departments and local government entities for agreeing to adopt and share the data collection set out by the CDC.

This bill is clearly a slippery slope where medicine has mixed with political ideologies. Government has weaponized the pandemic to infiltrate, control, and force their Orwellian rules onto those who do not comply. This concept to demonize those who are not vaccinated is fascist in declaring these people are causing all the problems and begin to persecute them to accentuate their political creeds.    

Countries within the EU are taking advantage of the ‘Omicron Scare’ by staying one-step of the U.S. with the most extreme measures by forcing vaccine mandates. Austria announced that they will be implementing forced vaccination early next year. Those refusing vaccination will face continuous lockdowns, hefty fines up to 7,200 eros, and potential jail time. Greece followed with announcing monthly fines after December. Germany’s incoming chancellor, Olaf Scholz, voiced his support for mandatory vaccinations, blaming the unvaccinated for the problems in Germany.       

European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen then raised the stakes in calling for discussions on a common approach to implement forced vaccination throughout the entire EU. Responding to the EU chief, Hermann Kelly, the President of the Irish Freedom Party, said state coercion should be resisted. He continued that if we allow the state to dictate what chemical or biological agent you must take inside your body, it becomes questionable on what liberties remain. Kelly stated, “We are witnessing the dangerous Chinafication of Europe with mandatory digital certificates.”

Australia has taken the unnerving measures to build numerous quarantine camps strategically located throughout the country for the intended purpose of quarantining international travelers to ensure they are clear to move about. There are reports, however, of more sinister implications. A 26-year-old woman was removed from her home by masked police against her will for potentially being in close contact with a covid positive case even though she tested negative. The police surrounded her home and told her that she was being taken away and placed in detention for 14 days at the Howard Springs Center of National Resilience, the 2,000-capacity COVID camp outside of Darwin.  

The female prisoner shared in a podcast following her release that you feel like a prisoner; it is inhumane what they are doing, they just overpower you and you are literally nothing. She said camp guards threatened her that they would extend her time in the camp next time. Masked police also set up roadblocks along a perimeter to catch three teens who escaped over the barbed wire at the same facility – they had all tested negative for COVID too.    

The chief minister of Australia’s Northern Territory, Michael Gunner, expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Scott Morrison for the military personnel and army trucks to carry out the round ups in the territory where people can only leave their homes for medical treatment. Gunner angrily declared that anyone who opposes vaccine mandates, even if vaccinated, will be regarded by the government as an “anti-vaxxer.” He said, “If you support, champion, give a green light, give comfort to, support anyone who argues against the vaccine, you are an anti-vaxxer. Your personal vaccination status is utterly irrelevant.”

Canada, with no political resistance in the country, has acted without impunity to lockdown all unvaccinated citizens from travel or from entering restaurants and events; along with full mask mandates whether you are vaccinated or not; including young children all day at school. Instead of the Australian quarantine camps, the Canadian federal government has occupied hotel camps where citizens arriving at airports; whether they are elderly, fully vaccinated with three shots, and tested negative are escorted by police to be quarantined in squalid conditions with no heat or toiletries, very little food to sustain yourself, and restricted contact with the outside world.     

After World War II, a series of trials were held in Nuremburg, Germany to hold members of the Nazi party responsible for war crimes. The trials were led by the U.S. in what became known as the Nuremburg Trials where German physicians responsible for conducting unethical medical procedures on humans in concentration camps during the war were tried. In 1947, the prosecution submitted a memorandum to the United States Counsel for War Crimes outlining ten points known as ‘The Code’ that was reiterated by the judges delivering their guilty verdict.

The Code’s permissible medical experiments explicitly states the voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person should have the legal capacity to give consent (to the COVID vaccine); should be so situated as to be able to exercise free power of choice, without the intervention of any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, overreaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion; and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved to make an understanding and enlightened decision; including the duration of the methods, hazards, and long term effects upon one’s health which may possibly come from the participation. The human subject should have the liberty to bring the experiment to an end if one has reached a physical or mental state where continuation cannot continue; and the medical action must be terminated if there is probable cause to believe continuation may result in injury, disability, or death to the subject.

The Code is the most important document in the history of clinical research ethics, which had a massive influence on human rights. In America, it formed the basis for the regulations issued by the United States Department of Health and Human Services for the ethical treatment of human subjects; and as of 2019, 173 countries have signed off on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that prohibits medical experimentation without the free consent of the subject. Sadly, and thankfully, the Nuremburg Code became the cornerstone to enlighten humanity on bioethics following the reverberation of ghastly Nazi atrocities.   

To be clear, the COVID vaccines are still considered experimental medicine being administered and has not passed through the full regulatory process of clinical studies on the effectiveness and long-term impacts on one’s health. This raises numerous unanswered questions, including whether the ‘Omicron Scare’ has overridden the Nuremburg Code. Why are people who have been vaccinated three times required to wear a mask and are still being infected with COVID? Why are the ingredients of the vaccines not listed on the shipping documentation like other medicines? Why did a judge suppress the ingredients in the vaccines for 55 years? Are you sure the vaccine does not contain graphene oxide and are you aware this poisonous substance can be manipulated externally once it is in the human body? Why are people being forced under duress to inject the vaccine or lose their employment? Do you know how your red blood cells are reacting after taking the vaccine? Why are young children suddenly coming down with COVID after so many adults are vaccinated yet there were no issues for them prior to vaccinations? Why are there more deaths from COVID after the vaccine rollout than prior? Finally, where does this experiment lead and to what end, at what costs to society, and what are our limits for ongoing injections?

It was not long ago when people who had concerns over forced vaccinations and quarantine camps were labeled conspiracy theorists. Many vaccine supporters and politicians claimed such actions would be extreme and not legal; and yet today these mandates have become mainstream and those who object on the basis of the Nuremburg Code are being persecuted. Will forced vaccines lead to war crimes against humanity?

What of this injustice of the vaccine mandate and its mark on history? If we just take a moment to think through the confusion of the pandemic and understand the moral issues being undermined by the powers seeking to control society and usurp western democracy, then we may refuse to allow our sacrifices for freedom to be squandered. It lies with the people on whether your conscience becomes a trumpet call to like-minded people, together in steadfast perseverance with mutual purpose and support to go on to finish in a way worthy of our liberties and citizenship.   

Some have asked if God cares in these days of national and global calamity. The significance of this answer is not discovered simply by human ingenuity scrutinizing the methods of divine judgement. Rather, natural laws of mankind’s inept abilities and political actions of injustice work through periodic courses of tribalistic history set against a heavenly appointed destiny over millenniums. This we can not easily explain, but we can give this current calamity a profound and prayerful significance by recognizing in the moment of injustice an opportunity to intercede; knowing God’s love prevails and the instilled joy is not limited by death.

Out of the ashes and ruins, a nation will grow a worthier life of good citizenship; stirred by justice and freedom in realizing our blessing in this hour of distress. Leaders who simply follow their science as their god are obstinate in their actions and they no not acknowledge, and they do not see the real master over one’s body and soul is God.  

Rich Berdan is a freelance writer out of Detroit, Michigan. Rich often provides perspectives that are unique and thought provoking.

New Social Compact

Delivering On Our Promise of Universal Education

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A young girl studies at home in Gujarat, India. © UNICEF/Panjwani

Our investment in education – especially for children caught in crisis and conflict – is our investment in a better future.

Co-Signed by: Federal Councillor of the Swiss Confederation, Ignazio Cassis; Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany, Svenja Schulze; Minister of Education, Niger, Ibrahim Natatou; Minister of International Development, Norway, Anne Beathe Tvinnereim; Minister of General Education and Instruction, South Sudan, Awut Deng Acuil; Minister of Education, Colombia, Alejandro Gaviria; Former UK Prime Minister, UN Special Envoy for Global Education and Chair of ECW’s High-Level Steering Group The Rt. Hon. Gordon Brown

As we mark the International Day of Education, world leaders must make good on their promise of providing quality education for all by 2030.

Education is our investment in peace where there is war, our investment in equality where there is injustice, our investment in prosperity where there is poverty.

Make no mistake about it, there is a global education crisis that threatens to unravel decades of development gains, spur new conflicts, and upend economic and social progress across the globe.  

As UN Secretary-General António Guterres highlighted at last year’s Transforming Education Summit: “If we are to transform our world by 2030 as envisaged by the Sustainable Development Goals, then the international community must give this (education) crisis the attention it deserves.”

When Education Cannot Wait (ECW), the United Nations global fund for education in emergencies and protracted crises, was founded in 2016, we estimated that 75 million crisis-impacted children required education support. Today, that number has tripled to 222 million.

Of the 222 million children whose right to an education has been ripped from their hands by the multiplying impacts of conflict, climate change and other protracted crises, an estimated 78 million are out of school all together – more than the total populations of France, Italy or the United Kingdom.

Even when they are in school, many are not achieving minimum proficiencies in reading or math. Think about this terrifying statistic: 671 million children and adolescents worldwide cannot read. That’s more than 8% of the world’s total population. That’s an entire generation at risk of being lost  

As we have seen from the war in Ukraine, the challenges of the Venezuelan  migration to Colombia and South America, the unforgiveable denial of education for girls in Afghanistan, and a devastating climate change-driven drought in the Horn of Africa that has created a severe hunger crisis for 22 million people, we are living in an interconnected world. The problems of Africa, the Middle East, South America, and beyond are the problems of the world that we share together   

Every minute of every day, children are fleeing violence and persecution in places like Myanmar, the Sahel, South America and the Middle East. Every minute of every day, boys are being recruited as child soldiers in Somalia, the Central African Republic and beyond. Every minute of every day, the climate crisis brings us closer to the end of times, and children go hungry because they are denied their right to go to school, where they might just have their only meal of the day. And amid conflict, migration and climate change, governments like Colombia are struggling to secure the most basic living and education conditions for children in hard-to-reach borders.

It’s an assault on our humanity, a moral affront to the binding promises outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and a giant step backwards in our persistent efforts – against all odds – to find peace in our times.

There is hope. By embracing a new way of working and delivering with humanitarian speed and development depth, ECW and its strategic partners have reached 7 million children in just five years, with plans to reach 20 million more over the next four years.

Imagine what an education can mean for a child of war? In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 13-year-old Nyota lost her father and brothers in a brutal attack on her village. Her family’s home was burnt to the ground.

In a country where 3.2 million children are out of school, Nyota’s future was bleak. Would she be a child bride, the victim of sexual violence, another tragic statistic in a forgotten crisis?

No. She did not give up. With the support of an innovative programme funded by ECW, Nyota is back in school. “When I have completed my studies, I dream of becoming the President of my country to end the war here. That will allow children to study in peace and not endure the same horrible things that I have.”

Nyota is not alone: we have received inspiring letters from girls and boys in over 20 crisis-affected countries across the world that underscore the amazing value of education in transforming lives and creating a better future for generations to come.

On February 16, world leaders are gathering for the Education Cannot Wait High-Level Financing Conference in Geneva. Hosted by ECW and Switzerland – and co-convened by Colombia, Germany, Niger, Norway and South Sudan – the conference provides world leaders, businesses, foundations and high-net-worth individuals with the opportunity to deliver on our promise of education for all. The aim is to raise US$1.5 billion for the next four years.

As the co-conveners of this seminal event, we are calling on the people of the world to invest in the promise of an education. It’s the best investment we could make in delivering on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Nyota and millions like her are not giving up on their dream, and we shouldn’t give up on them. We have promises to keep. 

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New Social Compact

Education starts early – or it should

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Authors: Manos Antoninis and Silvia Montoya*

When children attend early childhood education, they are not just learning their ABCs and 123s, they are learning how to solve problems, live in harmony with others and communicate effectively. Going to pre-primary education increases the  chance to grow and flourish in a nurturing and stimulating environment. It is an opportunity to provide children with the skills they need to succeed in school and in life.

Thankfully, early childhood education is something that more and more children are accessing: over the past two decades, the rates of those attending rose from 65% to 75%. Countries have put pen to paper, committing to taking this up a level. As part of a multi-year exercise, they have set national benchmarks for the progress they feel they can make between now and 2030 on helping more young children start their education in their early years, alongside other objectives. On the occasion of the 2023 International Day of Education, UNESCO published a global report, the 2023 SDG4 Scorecard showing how fast countries are progressing towards their national benchmarks on Sustainable Development Goal 4 (quality education). These benchmarks commit countries to together open school doors to 95% of five-year-olds by the 2030 deadline for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

These ambitions are not messing around. Conversely to what you might expect, countries have actually set their targets far higher than one might expect considering how they’ve done in the past. Even if they managed to improve at the rate of the historically fastest-improving quarter of countries, they would only manage to reach the stage where 83% of children were going to early childhood education. At present, therefore, barely one in three countries is on track with their self-set targets. How can we help them speed up? 

Having monitored education for the past 20 years, a few clear lessons jump out that can help countries break the speed barriers we’re keen to impart. While simple education reform is not very common, this first example is at least compact. Our recommendation is for countries to legislate and provide for free and compulsory education, which about a half of countries have done so far. Since 2015, for example, the introduction of three years of free education in Armenia, four years in Uzbekistan and three – and later five – years in Azerbaijan is associated with a large increase in participation rates.  While one policy change cannot be assessed out of context, there is a clear jump in children’s early education access across these countries post the new legislation.

Where we see these laws lagging is in low income and, more generally, sub-Saharan African countries. For all those who join us in believing in the importance of the foundations that early childhood can bring, Sub-Saharan Africa should be a region where we direct our support over the coming years. Not only are fewer than half of children starting school early, but its population prospects will make the challenge harder over time. It is projected that sub-Saharan Africa will surpass Central and Southern Asia by 2026 as the region with the largest number of 4-5 year olds in the world. This cohort will grow by 1 million on average in the next 20 years. Population growth will slow down but will still reach 100 million in 2069. The region will be the home to a staggering 43% of all five-year-olds on planet earth by the end of the century.

The second recommendation we believe can make a difference is also a governance issue, and relates to the fact that the first education experiences of 40% of children in the world today is with private providers. Much of this trend can be linked to the fact that there was not enough supply related to demand, and private providers grew to fill the gap.

This phenomenon can’t be ignored in some areas of the world. In Oceania, for example, some countries have close to 100% of preschool students enrolled in non-state institutions. These can be for-profit and non-profit organizations, such as child-care centers, preschools, and home-based childcare providers, for example.  Their presence can bring significant financial implications, and therefore, barriers, to families, and detract from the original reason they exist in the first place: to increase education for all.  With the provision part removed from government’s control, it means that their ability to regulate the quality and equity of the myriad of alternative early childhood education providers – and monitor them – is vital.

For much of the pandemic, the GEM Report team at UNESCO mapped over 200 country profiles on its PEER website to look further into the regulations countries currently have for private providers in early childhood education. What we found is that those covering equity are in the minority: only 26% of countries support specific vulnerable populations’ tuition fee payments and just 15% prohibit non-state providers from operating for profit.  On the positive side, however, we also found that turning these numbers on their head could also see a huge surge in participation rates. When governments have regulations in place helping out some of the most marginalized groups with tuition fees, for instance, the percentage of children who participate in organized learning one year before entry to primary school is higher by 13 percentage points, whereas countries with fee-setting regulations have a 7 percentage-point higher participation.

Our third but equally critical recommendation covers the extent to which governments prioritise education in the early years in their spending. We looked at the countries with data from the last two years and found they were spending just 0.43% of GDP on pre-primary education – pittance in comparison to the benefits an early education can bring. There is a clear correlation between how much was spent on public education and the rise of participation rates as a result. Doubling spending from 0.25 to 0.50 of GDP, we found, triples participation rates in public preschools from 20% to 60% on average, and is a clear win for improving progress on this issue.

As any education policy maker will tell you, there is no one easy fix for system reform. Sadly, this is the reason the sector fails to attach the funding it needs to transform and deliver to match our expectations. But, where there are lessons that our past mistakes and successes have taught us, we should take them, and not waste further time. Education can and should start early. If we legislate, regulate and finance appropriately, we can help countries’ ambitions to make that happen a reality.

*Silvia Montoya, Director of UNESCO Institute of Statistics

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New Social Compact

A Cry for Help: Pakistan’s Broken Education System




The saying “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”, attributed to Derek Bok – the former president of Harvard University, holds a plethora of resonance for a developing country like Pakistan. Compared to the global standard of spending 4% of GDP on education, Pakistan only spends around 2.3% of its GDP on education, which happens to be the lowest in the South-Asian region.  The inadequate spending on schools stems from the government’s nonchalant attitude and general disinterest in the education sector. Because of this, Pakistan’s budget allocation for education is far less than what is advised by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 

The 2019 Annual Status of Education Report shows the overall literacy rate in the country to be 60%, with 71% male literacy rate compared to 49% female literacy. Despite these statistics showing an improvement from the past trends, the Human Development Report of 2019 remained unfazed. According to the findings of the report, Pakistan failed to show significant improvements in key educational indicators concerned with the rate of literacy, overall enrolment ratio, and education related expenditure. In the same year, Pakistan was also ranked 152nd out of 189 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI) under the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). 

Comparing Pakistan’s Education sector to other developing countries in the region further paints a dismal picture, as Pakistan lingers behind it its quest in providing quality education. Pakistan suffers from the third-highest primary school dropout rates in the region, estimating at 23%, only behind countries such as Bangladesh and Nepal. In a 2016 Global Education Monitoring (GEM) Report titled “Education for People and Planet: Creating Sustainable Futures for All”, it was found that Pakistan is 50 years behind in achieving its primary education goals, while adding another 10 years in its path to achieving its secondary education goals.

For the most part, the policy maker’s one-stop solution for increasing the level of education in Pakistan has focused on raising the enrollment rates in primary schools. While this approach emphasized more on the quantity of education being provided, it has done little to cater to the quality and expense of the education itself. This is reflected in the learning levels of public schools in Pakistan, which are astonishingly low as student’s performance in academics is hugely underwhelming, compared to the acceptable standard. This shortcoming in the public education is mainly attributed to the dearth of incentives for public sector teachers. Which translates into low teaching effort, since any chance at salary increment and promotion is directly related to seniority and experience and not the teacher’s actual performance.

In view of these prevalent conditions of the public sector education, Pakistan witnessed a sudden boom in low-fee private education institutions in early 2000’s, which outnumbered state-run schools in both quantity and quality. With ample availability of low-cost teachers in rural areas due to lack of other job opportunities, these schools quickly expanded in the region and provided multiple schooling options for the 63% of the population which resides in the rural setting. Despite the private sector teachers being underpaid and under-experienced compared to their public sector counterparts, the learning levels of students in private schools has been much better. This is mostly due to effective teaching pedagogy, curriculum design and proper oversight which gives private schools an edge over public sector ones. 

In the Human Rights Watch Report titled “Shall I Feed My Daughter, Or Educate Her?”: Barriers to Girls’ Education in Pakistan”, the Pakistani government’s inability to adequately  educate the girls also surfaced. Liesl Gerntholtz, the Women’s Rights Director at Human Rights Watch commented “The Pakistan government’s failure to educate children is having a devastating impact on millions of girls”. The report stated that the majority of the 22.5 million children that are out of school are girls, who are simply barred from attaining education.

However, many of the barriers to girl’s education lie within the education system of the country itself. The State takes on a lasses-faire approach towards providing education in the country. And instead relies on private sector education and Madrassahs to bridge the gaps in education provision. Thus the girls are deprived of a decent education in the process. The government’s inadequate investment in schools is another main culprit for the number of girls that remain out of school. As girls finish primary school, secondary schools are not as widespread and their access to the next grade is hindered. Furthermore, while the Constitution of Pakistan claims that primary schooling be free of charge, it is not actually the case. Hence, most parents with constrained resources opt to educate their sons over their daughters. As a result, once girls are dropped out of schools, there is no compulsion by the state to re-admit the girls into school. Therefore, a chance once lost is lost forever.

Towards the end of 2019, Covid-19, which emerged in the wet markets of Wuhan, quickly took the world by storm. It forced the entire world into lockdown, and resulted in a major humanitarian and economic catastrophe, ultimately affecting the Education Sector as well. This compelled Pakistan to take swift notice of the virus and announce country-wide closure of educational institutes from beginning of February 2020. It wasn’t for another six months that educational institutions were reopened with strict SOPs in place, only to be shut down again amidst the second wave of the virus. And so due to these conditions, the education sector in Pakistan faced a devastating loss of learning. The virus not only exposed the cracks in the country’s education system, but it also further amplified them.

According to a report published by the World Bank “Learning Losses in Pakistan Due To Covid-19 School Closures: A Technical Note on Simulation Results”, it was predicted that a loss of livelihood due to Covid-19 could translate into a severe case of children dropping out of schools. The study estimated an additional 930,000 children that are expected to drop out of the fold of education, and thus increasing out-of-school percentage by 4.2 percent.

Similarly, the report also mentioned that the learning levels in schools could drop to anywhere between 0.3 and 0.8 years of learning. Therefore, an average student now only attains an education level of 5 years due to poor quality of education, despite going to school for 9 years. Furthermore, in wake of covid-19, the share of children who are unable to read basic texts by age 10, represented by “Learning Poverty” are further expected to go up 4 percent from 75 to 79 percent. As schools were shut down across the country, many of them were also unable to transition into online mode of learning. This was because the state failed to provide internet access to remote regions of the country. Hence, Covid-19 proved to be a huge setback for the education sector of Pakistan.

To conclude, while significant steps have been taken to strengthen the education sector of Pakistan, such as the unanimous passing of the Article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan and the dedication towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to provide quality and equitable education; there still remains a gap between policy formation and its implementation. Despite the education policies of Pakistan focusing on science and technology, nationalizing private education institutions, increasing the number of student enrollment and improving their access to higher education, it still failed to improve in the education indicator of the HDI in the past decade. In view of this, Pakistan needs to rethink its education policies and fill gaps that currently exist between what is decided and what is implemented.

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