Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, more than 70 per cent of students have been shut out of schools, universities and training centres. But many of them are struggling to cope with the circumstances outside school, citing the transition from the classroom to online and distance learning, during the lockdown.
The COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting multiple shocks on the young and likely to effects prospects of an entire generation, according to a new report issued on Tuesday by the International Labour Organisation -ILO.
the COVID-19 pandemic began, more than 70 per cent of students have been shut out of schools, universities and training centres. But many of them are struggling to cope with the circumstances outside school, citing the transition from the classroom to online and distance learning, during the lockdown.
Despite their efforts to continue studying and training, half of the
students surveyed believed their studies would be delayed while nine per
cent feared that they might fail altogether, according to ILO findings documented in the report titled Youth and COVID-19: impacts on jobs, education, rights and mental well-being.
“The pandemic is inflicting multiple shocks on young people”, said
ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “It is not only destroying their jobs
and employment prospects but also disrupting their education and
training and having a serious impact on their mental well-being."
And for those in lower-income countries with limited internet access,
a dearth of equipment, and sometimes a lack of space at home to work effectively, the situation is even worse. The report shines a light on the large digital divides between regions.
While 65 per cent of youth in high-income countries were taught classes via video-lectures, only 18 per cent in low-income countries were able to maintain their studies online. “We cannot let this happen” going forward, the ILO chief said.
Against the backdrop of further obstacles in the labour market and the lengthened transition from school to work due to the pandemic, the
report flags that 38 per cent of young people feel deeply uncertain over
future career prospects. Moreover, with one-in-six having had to stop work since the onset of
the pandemic, some have already been directly impacted, suffering lost
At the same time, 42 per cent of those who have continued to work have seen their incomes reduced, ILO said, maintaining that this also affects their mental well-being. The survey found that half of all young people have been feeling some degree of anxiety or depression during the pandemic.
Despite the setbacks, young people have continued to mobilize and speak out about the crisis. According to the survey, a quarter of young people have done some kind of volunteer work during the pandemic.
Ensuring that their voices are heard is critical for a more inclusive COVID-19
response, said ILO, adding that giving youth a chance to articulate
their needs and ideas during decision-making procedures will improve the
effectiveness of policies and programmes.
To protect an entire generation from having their employment prospects permanently scarred by the crisis, Youth and COVID-19 calls
for urgent, large-scale and targeted policy responses, including by
re-integrating back into the labour market those who have lost jobs,
ensuring youth access to unemployment insurance benefits, and
instituting effective measures to boost mental health.