The rapid spread of the Covid-19 pandemic has had a major impact on the education of children and young people across the world. Schools throughout most of the world were closed as part of lockdown procedures. The percentage of children who were out of school rose to 91% which equaled 1.6 billion  children. There were serious implications and consequences when the vast majority of children and young people were not attending school. There were concerns about the quality of home education and how well-equipped parents and guardians were for home education. There were serious issues about the impact of the digital divide, or digital exclusion, in the pre-Covid-19 world and that became increasingly highlighted in the lockdowns enforced by the Covid-19
pandemic (McKinney, 2020). There were erroneous assumptions that most children had access to computer equipment and the internet, certainly in  developed countries. Some families may have had internet access but did not have sufficient income to pay the bill for the internet. There were concerns about the physical and mental wellbeing of children. Vulnerable children became more susceptible to mental, physical and sexual abuse (United Nations, 2020a). The challenges of ensuring equal access to school, and to sufficient and  nutritious food for children worldwide pre-Covid-19, became more problematic during the pandemic.

This paper will commence with a short introduction to Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) and the role of RRI in supporting the aims and implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The paper will then examine poverty and child poverty and food security and examine some of the effects of Covid-19 on child poverty, school education and food security for children. The paper will conclude by arguing that RRI can make a significant contribution to research on these themes at this time. 


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McKinney, S. 2021, 'Responsible research and innovation: Covid-19: food insecurity, child poverty and education', Report on the Proceedings of the 7th LSME International Research Conference on ‘Role of Management, Education and Social Sciences in Responsible Research and Innovations: Challenges and Realities, pp. 58-64. http://eprints.gla.ac.uk/236520/

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Last updated: 01 October 2022
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