The Puggle: December 2021 edition

2021 was a rollercoaster. Looking back at all that happened this year, it is hard to capture the ups and downs in words. So hard, in fact, that instead we’ve tried to capture it in song.

For our wrap-up of the year, this playlist exemplifies 2021’s ups and downs of girls’ education.

The year started optimistically. In many countries, children were back in school. Vaccines were starting to roll-out (albeit unevenly) and in general it looked like we were beginning to Shake it Out, sunshine was on the way. We could Float OnChange was on the horizon. (See tracks 1-4.)

Although schools were open and children were encouraged to come back (please, please come back), it was not yet clear whether children would return. The answer was still Blowin’ in the Wind. (See tracks 5-7.)

Before we had a chance to find out, the Delta wave crushed India and swept across the globe. We were swept along with it into grief and mourning. (See tracks 8-12.)

Once we started to see hard data on re-enrollment, the trends looked promising and spurred a happy dance. Most children were returning to school, and girls were largely coming back at equal rates. It looked like decades of efforts underscoring the importance of education for girls and boys were sticking. (See tracks 13-15.)

But before we could get too complacent, it became clear that adolescent girls had been hit especially hard. They are feeling hopeless and need additional attention and support. (See tracks 16-19.)

Furthermore, all children have lost months and months of learning opportunities at a critical stage in their development. They need support to re-enter school and to master fundamental skills like reading and math. (See tracks 20-23.)

More positively, parents showed up in ways big and small for their children. They supported their learning while out of school and their re-entry when schools opened. Teachers and NGOs took pains to engage parents in education at a deeper level than they have before. These are positive trends that may even stick post-pandemic. (See tracks 24-27.)

So where does this leave us? There is a lot of talk about “building back better” — will it pan out, or are we really on a Road to Nowhere? Will we take onboard lessons of the pandemic, or be proven the “second fool”? Although we are headed Into the Unknown, we still like to dream The Impossible Dream that the promise of girls’ education will become a reality. We know that all of you will Try Everything to make it so. We see a better world ahead. There Will Be Time — to love, to sing, to shine. (See tracks 28-30.)

Thank you for all that you do. We’ll see you in 2022!