'Despite their efforts to continue studying and training, half of them believed their studies would be delayed and 9% thought that they might fail'
The Covid-19 pandemic is having a devastating effect on the education and training of young people, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has said.
“Since the outset of the pandemic, over 70% of youths who study or combine study with work have been adversely affected by the closing of schools, universities and training centres,” according an ILO press release.
A report by the ILO, titled “Youth and COVID-19: impacts on jobs, education, rights and mental well-being,” found that 65% of young people reported having learned less since the beginning of the pandemic because of the transition from classroom to online and distance learning during lockdown.
“Despite their efforts to continue studying and training, half of them believed their studies would be delayed and 9% thought that they might fail,” the press release said while quoting the report.
Around 65% of youths in high-income countries were taught classes via video-lectures, while only 18% in low-income countries could keep studying online, according to the ILO analysis.
“The pandemic is inflicting multiple shocks on young people. It is not only destroying their jobs and employment prospects, but also disrupting their education and training and having serious impacts on their mental well-being. We cannot let this happen,” said ILO Director General Guy Ryder.
ILO Country Director for Bangladesh Tuomo Poutiainen said: “The findings of this timely study clearly show how young women and young workers are being hardest hit by the ongoing crisis, and Bangladesh is no exception.
“Millions of youth are bearing the brunt of the ever-widening ‘digital divide’ with poor access to online and distance learning, a lack of IT equipment and a lack of study space at home. This lack of education and skills training will further undermine their future career prospects,” he added.
“Unless urgent action is taken, the nation’s youth will suffer severe and long-lasting impacts from this pandemic and its socio-economic fallout – both mentally and physically. We must safeguard their education, training and rights to access decent work,” Poutiainen further said.
According to the report, 38% of young people are uncertain of their future career prospects, with the crisis expected to create more obstacles in the labour market and to lengthen the transition from school to work.
The report calls for urgent, large-scale and targeted policy responses to protect a whole generation of young people from having their employment prospects permanently scarred by the crisis.
This includes, among other measures, re-integrating into the labour market those who have lost their jobs or who have experienced a reduction in working hours, and ensuring youth access to unemployment insurance benefits and measures to boost their mental health, from psychosocial support to sports activities.