Written by Javier Maquieira, Associate
Edited by Sabina Kadić-Mackenzie, Associate Partner
I remember my last year of high school as an extremely intense period. I was working towards achieving an excellent grade that would get me into my preferred university for the next four years. That’s all that mattered back then.
The hours I spent memorising and studying finally paid off. But it also took the backing and guidance of some of my teachers and the sense of responsibility I shared with my classmates to get me there.
When I think of the students that have seen their school days completely disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, I wonder what would have become of me if I were to relive that same year under the current circumstances. Knowing myself, I would probably have struggled to keep the same level of commitment, let alone motivation.
According to the World Economic Forum, more than a billion people are unable to attend school or university around the world as a result of lockdown measures. In particular, the sudden change to learning from home has brought all kinds of challenges for learners, parents and carers, most notably exposing and exacerbating the effects of inequality.
With no plans to open schools over the summer period, the Department for Education announced that it will provide laptops or tablets for 15-year-olds experiencing economic hardship in a bid to ensure they can access classes taking place online.
In Scotland, some university students now fear that the inability to sit exams could make employers disregard their qualifications, categorising them as second-class “Covid graduates”. As more companies scale back graduate recruitment, it isn’t surprising that 40% of students from the so-called Generation Z worry they won’t be able to land a job at all, raising fears of a ‘lost generation’ graduating into a global recession.
But all is not lost. In fact, there’s an opportunity to rethink the purpose of education in a truly globalised world. Writing as barely a millennial myself, the way I was taught during my school days was still too individualistic and one-way for the 21st century.
The reality before us is rather different and demands collaborative ways of learning and working, as well as the creativity of Gen Z. We can turn this moment of interrupted education into the reset we need; the reminder for us and future generations to cherish and protect our education system and our shared contribution to society.
At least 16 people were shot dead by a gunman in Nova Scotia, Canada, yesterday. The man, who went on a 12-hour shooting rampage before being arrested at a gas station and dying, was later identified by police as 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman. An officer from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was killed and another injured.
The prime minister, who continues to recover from the coronavirus at Chequers, is facing a cabinet split over the speed at which the UK should lift the lockdown. As Boris Johnson confronts claims made on Sunday that he was “missing in action” when the Covid-19 crisis first hit, the cabinet office minister, Michael Gove, and the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, favour a swifter reopening of the economy, while the health secretary, Matt Hancock, and Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, want to crash the virus before easing containment measures. (£)
Protests across the US took place on Sunday demanding governors to reopen economies shut by the coronavirus outbreak. President Trump appeared to support the demonstrators against strict restrictions, despite the risk of a Covid-19 resurgence posed by lifting lockdown measures too soon. Some state leaders have begun talks to plan reopening amid signs of slowdown, while others are looking to extend stay at home measures.
Business and economy
The UK government announced a £1.25bn package to support start-ups that are not eligible for existing coronavirus rescue schemes. The chancellor said the fund is aimed at ensuring the economic impact of Covid-19 does not kill off some of the UK's fastest growing and most innovative companies. To qualify for the rescue package, a business must have raised £250,000 privately in the last five years.
Asda has cancelled a quarter of orders with clothing suppliers despite seeing record food sales during the coronavirus outbreak. The supermarket chain, which said Covid-19 had “had a significant impact” on the fashion industry, added that it would only pay for part of the cancelled orders in a move that has angered suppliers.
According toSky News sources, the Treasury is considering a new coronavirus bailout scheme aimed at channelling bigger loans to companies on the brink of collapse. The programme, which could cost billions of pounds, would seek to support larger UK companies in sectors including hospitality, retail and aviation.
Columns of note
Writing inCity AM, Christian May opines that the government’s coronavirus £350bn package of support is failing those businesses it was designed to help. He cites the complexity of the application process and the ambiguity of the viability criteria as some of its drawbacks. May concludes that it would be a mistake to blame banks for the failure of the scheme and that a government review should look at guaranteeing 100% cent of the loan.
In The Times, Trevor Philips emphasises that the higher the proportion of non-whites in an area, the higher the rate of Covid-19 infection. He writes that, although the pattern is not easy to account for, some early explanations could be the fact that Britain’s non-whites are, generally speaking, younger than average and might unknowingly infected older relatives in multigenerational householders, and that many minorities work in high exposure occupations, such as retail, public transport, and the health service. (£).
Source: The Telegraph
The week ahead
The UK parliament will start its first online session this week as Brexit talks between the European Union and Britain kick off today with the first of three virtual negotiating rounds between now and early June.
When the House of Commons sits on Tuesday after the Easter recess, 120 MPs will participate in proceedings using the videoconference service Zoom, while up to 50 will remain in the chamber under social distancing rules.
The People’s Bank of China meets today as Beijing seeks to provide further stimulus to its economy, which has been massively hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
On Thursday, the European Council will hold a special meeting to discuss the immediate £500bn rescue package agreed by finance ministers of eurozone countries.
In terms of economic data, UK labour figures and retail sales will be closely watched on Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, while eurozone purchasing managers’ indices are scheduled to be published on Thursday.
In corporate news, Netflix will report on Tuesday, kicking off the earnings season for media companies. Others reporting this week include AT&T, IBM, Delta Air Lines, and Coca-Cola in the US and Unilever, AB Foods, and stock market operator LSE in the UK.
What's happening today?
Int. economic announcements
(07:00) Producer Price Index (GER)
(09:00) Current Account (EU)
(10:00) Balance of Trade (EU)
Did you know?
You burn more calories eating celery than it contains.
House of Commons
No business scheduled
House of Lords
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