According to the UNESCO, one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, close to half the world’s students are still affected by partial or full school closures, and over 100 million additional children will fall below the minimum proficiency level in reading.
In Thailand, schools have been closed for more than four months due to the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic causing a crisis of students’ dropping out. Without the government’s support, the dropout rate will increase by 10 to 15 percent, according to the Bangkok Post report.
In addition, EEF (Equitable Education Fund) said the poor Thai students receiving higher education are only 5 percent due to educational inequality, with about 670,000 children not attending school due to the government’s lack of support for school infrastructure, teachers, and curricula.
Natalie Bergman, a human rights lawyer proposed active government support as a way to deal with the reality of Thai children.
"More teenagers have dropped out of school since the pandemic and are going to work to support their families. The government should support computers, smartphones, and the internet free of charge for students’ online studies and also guarantee legal rights and vaccination of immigrant workers’ children,” she said.
“Thai government should not use violence against children in an anti-government protest," added Natalie.
Kowit Phothisan, an editor of Way Magazine also shared the reality of child labor around the world.
"There are 160 million children who is not in school, but in labor, with 79 million children aged 5 to 17 working in environments that are harmful to children. They must be chosen to work for a living. This is the reality of children around the world, and to address this, we urge the government to invest in social protection programs for vulnerable children and families first," he noted.
Bow Nuttaa Mahattna, a human rights advocate reminisced on the contribution of NGOs. "NGOs can raise awareness about the reality that children’s human rights are violated and seek solutions through their communication channel,” he said.
HWPL is calling for social and nationwide efforts to protect children’s human rights and the right to education triggered by the coronavirus outbreak.
The organization seeks to find practical solution to raise awareness of human rights, including the invention of a legal framework for peace, religious harmony, human rights webinars, peace education for students and citizens, and voluntary work.