In a pandemic-affected setting, Indian teacher Ranjitsinh Disale, the recipient of the Global Teacher Prize 2020, has joined international leaders from the public, private, and charitable sectors to urge for an increase in girls' digital access, digital skills, and engagement in online learning.
In the wake of COVID-19, the open letter calls on the international community to take action to guarantee that girls have equitable access to the technology and digital skills training they require, as well as to protect and prioritise domestic and international funding for girls' education.
“Turning around females' low attendance at my school has been one of the most difficult problems I've faced as a teacher,” says Mr Disale, a Maharashtra teacher.
“Globally, COVID-19 will only exacerbate this situation, and unless we act, I worry a generation of girls will be left behind. Leaders around the world must prioritise girls' education not only in their words, but also in their actions. The effort comes after the UK-based Varkey Foundation, UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, and the CJ Cultural Foundation organised the recent Building the Bandwidth Summit. Henrietta Fore, UNICEF's Executive Director; Stefania Giannini, UNESCO's Assistant Director-General for Education; and Yasmine Sherif, Director of the World Bank, are among the signatories to the open letter.
The signatories of the letter are concerned that disparities and hazards to girls' education will be exacerbated by reduced finances as a result of the pandemic's economic impact. “Unless we cultivate girls' abilities, promote their curiosity, and inspire their creativity, we will miss out on half of humanity's potential,” Heekyung Jo Min, Executive Vice-President of CJ CheilJedang, remarked. We cannot allow COVID-19 to deprive young women of a better future that is within their grasp if the world acts now.”