Why global education is the second emergency during coronavirus crisis: David Miliband

16 April 2020, 14:12

By Fiona Jones

David Miliband tells LBC why global education is the second emergency right now and will be a long-term consequence of the pandemic.

David Miliband, who leads an international humanitarian aid organisation International Rescue Committee, told Iain that there is a "double emergency" during this pandemic.

The first is that there's no proper health provision, for example in South Sudan there are only four ventilators for the whole country of ten million people.

The second emergency is for other local services which are depleting during this time, education being the "crying example of this". 90% of children globally are at home.

For the children in the places we work, we think they're never going to get the education if they weren't in school before, he said. There are about 130 million children in conflict states who are not in school.

"Education is a long-term consequence of the pandemic"
"Education is a long-term consequence of the pandemic". Picture: PA

"All the evidence is once they're not in school, it's very hard to get them back in, especially the young girls," said Mr Miliband, "we're sounding the alarm that world education is going to be a long-term consequence of this crisis beyond the short-term emergencies of health."

He urged to governments of less developed countries that they must be able to prioritise health and education measures.

Iain countered that while education is important, governments can argue the health of our people is more important.

Mr Miliband responded: "When you have holes in the global safety net they're going to get exploited. They're going to become a danger to all. This is the ultimate disease of the connected world.

"It's absolutely vital we don't short change the future by concentrating on the present. We've got to do both."

International Rescue Committee has 30,000 workers in 200 of the most challenging places in the world.