COVID-19 Creates a More Illiterate Society

The goal of literacy is an integral component of any human, but COVID-19 forced children to learn in a different way. As a result, literacy fell like a house of cards, with millions of children unable to pass basic reading tests. Many schools closed or had partial closures due to the Coronavirus. This prevented children from attending school. According to a research article, “100 million more children fail basic reading skills because of COVID-19,” written by the United Nations News, “460 million children [experienced] reading difficulties, [now] that number jumped to 584 million” (100 million more children fail basic reading skills because of COVID-19 2021). An interview with Robert Jenkins, Director of Education at the UN’s Children Fund stated the fact that before the pandemic “53 percent of 10-year-olds living in low and middle-income countries were not sufficiently or effectively reading and did not meet the minimum standards of foundational literacy and numeracy. That is estimated to be going up to 70 percent” (Interview: As millions fall behind, how can we bridge the growing education gap? 2022). Children from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Central and Southern Asia suffered from the consequences.

To reiterate, most of the Covid-19 generation are incapable of reading or writing a simple sentence. One study from the anti-poverty One Campaign indicates that “11.5 million children could be unable to read as a direct result of the impact on education of the Covid pandemic” (Ahmed 2021). This is at least a 20% increase in the number of children failing the minimum reading level. This wiped out 20 years of education gains, according to the UN Cultural Agency. The campaign claimed that even with schools running smoothly in Sub-Saharan Africa, 20 million girls would not return to school. Many poor children were unable to access online schooling because they lacked the technology. In addition to education losses, children also suffer physical and mental health problems, as well as nutritional deficiencies. Children no longer have access to the foods and supports they received in school.

Coronavirus affects students all over the world, so many are unable to read. Reading is the most crucial aspect of achieving success. It helps anyone find jobs, learn more information about something, make money, etc. Education is crucial to living a happy life. There is a common saying, “knowledge is power” by Thomas Hobbes. It means that not even the strongest or mightiest person could defeat a man or woman with such knowledge. My knowledge has always been spoon-fed to me by my teachers and parents, and most of the time I don’t pay attention to what I learn. In retrospect, it has long been clear to me that people have difficulty getting an education in any form.

Even though children are illiterate by age ten and above, it doesn’t matter when you can read. It matters what you can do with the knowledge gained from education. I deeply value the knowledge I’ve gained and I’m willing to share it with those in need. Millions of kids not being able to comprehend a simple sentence at the age of ten is an unforgettable thought. There will be no erasure of this traumatic experience. I believe that no matter the gender, caste, race, or ethnicity, children should always have access to knowledge. If we do not act soon, the younger generation will never understand words on a single page. Those who were able to attend schools and access technology are among the luckiest people because they can pursue their passions. With knowledge, anyone can do anything.

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