The Covid-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in history, affecting an estimated 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries and all continents. Schools’ closures and other learning spaces have impacted 94% of the world’s student population, up to 99% in low and middle-income countries.
How is the Pandemic exacerbating pre-existing education disparities?
The crisis has increased pre-existing education disparities by reducing the opportunities for many of the most vulnerable children, youth, and adults. Those living in poor or rural areas, girls, refugees, persons with disabilities, and forcibly displaced persons battle to continue learning. Learning losses threaten to extend beyond this generation and obliterate decades of educational progress. Nearly 23.8 million additional children and youth may drop out or not have proper school access next year due to the pandemic’s economic impact.
What are some of the impacts beyond education disruption?
The education disruption will continue to have significant effects beyond schooling. Closures of educational institutions hinder the provision of essential services to children and communities, including access to nutritious food, affect many parents’ ability to work and increase risks of violence against women and girls.
Has Covid-19 enhanced innovation within the education sector?
The global pandemic has introduced innovative approaches in support of education and training. These changes have been implemented from radio, remote schooling, television to take-home packages. Distance learning solutions were developed due to the quick responses by governments and partners worldwide supporting education continuity. According to the World Economic Forum, online learning has been shown to increase information retention and take less time, meaning the changes coronavirus has caused might be here to stay.
What is the future of learning?
These changes in education have highlighted the promising future of learning. The accelerated introduction of new methods in delivering quality education and leaving no one behind is the maximum priority.
In conclusion, how can this problem be solved?
Ensuring education requires restructuring in teaching and learning methods. Change is possible. We should seize the opportunity to find new ways to address the learning crisis and practice sets of solutions previously considered difficult or impossible to implement, such as remote learning. Focusing on managing learning losses and preventing dropouts, support the teaching profession, and teacher’s readiness, among others, are plausible solutions to challenge knowledge during this time.
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Education during COVID-19 and Beyond. Aug. 2020, www.un.org/sites/un2.un.org/files/sg_policy_brief_covid-19_and_education_august_2020.pdf.
Cathy Li, Head of Media. “The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Changed Education Forever. This Is How.” World Economic Forum, www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/04/coronavirus-education-global-covid19-online-digital-learning/.