As per a new report by the World Bank on the impact of Covid-19 on South Asia's youth, 1.6 million youths are idle alone in Pakistan, reported The News International.
The COVID-19 pandemic that gripped the world some three years ago has left millions of youth idle.
The first comprehensive analysis of post-pandemic global data, "Collapse and Recovery: How Covid Eroded Human Capital and What to Do About It" was released on Thursday.
It cites a drastic change in the school enrolment percentages in Pakistan before and after the pandemic.
A study finds that preschool enrolment in Pakistan dropped by over 15 percentage points by end of 2021 in the post-pandemic era, reported The News International.
As per the report, the enrollment among Pakistani children between the ages of six and 14 dropped by six percentage points once schools reopened, and 7.6 million children in the country alone have dropped out of school.
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The report presents global data on the pandemic's impact on young people at key developmental stages: early childhood (0-5 years), school age (6-14 years), and youth (15-24 years). It finds that in South Asia, today's students could lose up to 14.4 per cent of their future earnings due to Covid-19-induced education loss.
In South Asia, between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2022, schools were fully or partially closed for 83 per cent of the time, significantly longer than the global average of schools being closed for 52 per cent of that same period, reported The News International.
Among school-aged children, on average, for every 30 days of school closures, students lost about 32 days of learning.
This is because school closures and ineffective remote learning measures caused students to miss out on learning and to also forget what they had already learned.
As a result, learning poverty -- already 60 per cent before the pandemic -- has increased further, with an estimated 78 per cent of 10-year-olds in South Asia unable to read and understand a simple written text, reported The News International.
The press statement also quoted World Bank Vice President for South Asia Martin Raiser as saying, "The pandemic shut down schools, decimated jobs, and plunged vulnerable families into crisis, pushing millions of South Asia's children and young people off-track and depriving them of opportunities to flourish."
While in the case of Pakistan, when the post and pre-pandemic learning levels were put in comparison, the children from the poorest households were falling further behind in math as compared to children from the wealthiest households.
The World Bank warned that COVID-19-like calamities result in a decline in both human capital levels and subsequent rates of accumulation, reported The News International.
Moreover, lifetime earnings and economic growth will witness a decades-long downfall if the said losses are left unaddressed, ultimately causing a spike in inequality.
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