The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing students to drop out of school

The United Nations Development Programme released a grim forecast

The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing students to drop out of school
How many of these students could have been the first to go to university in their families? - Photo: Jens Schlueter/AFP
English 04/08/2020 09:01 Mexico City Editorial Actualizada 09:16
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The economic crisis generated by the COVID-19 pandemic won’t affect a few sectors. Very little has been said regarding education. Today, EL UNIVERSAL presents a forecast by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the numbers are not optimistic, especially concerning the secondary level and higher education.

Amid the school shutdowns and higher unemployment rates, up to 1.4 million students will quit high school and university in 2020-2021.

The economic crisis will force many students to leave the classrooms to support their families financially, renouncing the possibility of a better life through education.

How many of these students could have been the first to go to university in their families?

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Although this is not a new phenomenon, the situation worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, education authorities must focus on vulnerable students. According to the Public Education Ministry (SEP), authorities will launch an early-alert system to halt school drop-out in the upcoming school year.

Moreover, other countries have confirmed that the results of pandemics and natural disasters include school dropouts and a slow learning recovery. 

For example, in Mexico, we confirmed this tendency by reaching out to the Rojas Zavala family. EL UNIVERSAL has monitored the development of this family for some time. This year, we found that 15-year-old Teresa won’t return to school.

Her freshman year was not what she expected. Professors were demanding, they wouldn’t let her into class if she didn’t have the necessary materials or her grades were lowered. The pandemic convinced her that she could not continue with her education. Her only hope is to find a job and homeschool herself. 

Each student who drops out of school represents social stagnation, individually and for the country. Mexico can’t condemn the “pandemic generation” to that destiny. Authorities must work on this issue. 

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