ISLAMABAD: The Covid-19 pandemic has directly impacted 42 million school going children from pre-primary and primary to higher secondary and degree college levels during the last nine months of this fiscal year. Minister for Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tarin while announcing the economic survey 2020-21 here on Thursday said, education is among the few sectors which was closed after the COVID-19 pandemic to contain its spread by keeping social and physical distancing. Low-cost private schools are unable to pay salaries to the teachers and face risk of school closures. This situation stands to potentially exacerbate risks and vulnerabilities to an already weak education system, as well as steepen learning capabilities. Mobility constraints, non-availability of internet, non-access to tele-schooling facilities has an adverse impact on the most vulnerable groups, particularly women and other marginalized groups especially those in rural areas and urban slums. Geographically, rural areas and urban slums are potentially at highest risk with more than 70 per cent of current enrollment and large pockets of already out of school children. Hence, the COVID-19 crisis may widen the already existing socioeconomic gap in the educational system and impact the overall literacy rate of the country. Similarly, in the poverty and unemployment domain the survey said, keeping the spread of the pandemic in perspective, almost 44% of the population is potentially vulnerable (including 24.3% already living below the poverty line) and may require immediate bail out. The estimate of multidimensional vulnerability index based on PSLM 2014-15 shows that 56.6 percent of the population has become socioeconomically vulnerable after the outbreak. This implies that various segments of the society may get affected by the pandemic, especially women, children as well as home-based and piece rate workers, marginalized groups including transgenders, persons with disabilities, refugees etc. The 2017-18 Labor Force Survey estimates show 61.7 million employed labor force. Among these, 23.8 million are agriculture workers and 37.9 million are non-agriculture workers. The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimates 12.6 million to 19.1 million vulnerable workers may lose their jobs while PIDE estimates 15.54 million to 18.65 million job loss. It is expected that wholesale and retail trade will lose maximum workers followed by manufacturing, construction and transport. However, expected job loss in the non-agriculture sector is between 4.8 and 5.8 million. SMEDA estimates show that 3.25 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) constitute nearly 90% of all the enterprises in Pakistan and their share in the annual GDP is approximately 40%. Ninety-seven percent of these enterprises are under individual ownership and hence mainly working in the informal sector. Since most MSMEs are not documented (other than those workers registered under EOBI or a social security program), they are not protected against loss of employment.