Building Inclusive Post-COVID-19 Education Systems for African Youth

Gender equality is crucial to building thriving, inclusive, African economies and while both men and women are restricted by gender norms, young women disproportionately bear the burden of equality. COVID-19 is setting back recent gains made towards women’s empowerment across the continent and a post-pandemic recovery that not only ensures women are not left behind, but accelerates also gender equity, will spur Africa’s economic growth and development.

How do we create inclusive equitable education systems for African youth?

Women faced significant barriers in access to education, skills development, financial services, and employment opportunities. COVID-19 has increased gender disparities and revealed new barriers that disproportionately impact women and girls from achieving their full potential.

School closures due to COVID-19 not only disrupt learning, but push vulnerable students, especially girls, who are already at risk of dropping out. Many girls and boys might not return to school due to financial constraints or their involvement in income generating activities; the inability of many to continue learning from home while schools are closed; the likely worsening of learning outcomes for all which could be even more pronounced for female students owing to their increased domestic responsibilities; the lack of access to safe spaces and the increased risk of early pregnancy among girls because of school closures.

Pandemic is amplifying challenges and creating new opportunities

At a time when demand for secondary education is increasing, COVID-19 is threatening the ability of countries to invest in education. While exacerbating inequality, it also creates an opportunity to rethink systems and ‘build back better’ with greater innovation.

Read more about the impact of COVID-19 on secondary education in Africa.

Demand for new approaches to secondary education that are not ‘one-size-fits-all’

As the pandemic closes schools globally, it’s more pressing than ever to look at systems that provide a flexible journey through education that reflects the reality for many African youth, especially young women.

Find out what flexible education systems might look like.

Fee-free education still comes at a cost for some

Fee-free education does not always reach young girls and other marginalized populations. With secondary education increasingly becoming a gateway to work for African youth, read more about the targeted approaches needed to make it more accessible.