COVID-19 and Education for Children: Lessons Learned
Children in the poorest countries have lost nearly four months of schooling since start of pandemic
NEW YORK/PARIS/Washington D.C. 29 October 2020 - New report looks at national education responses to COVID-19 including lost learning; remote learning support for students, parents and teachers; school reopening plans; health protocols; and financing. Schoolchildren in low-and lower-middle-income countries have already lost nearly four months of schooling since the start of the pandemic, compared to six weeks of loss in high-income countries, according to a new report published today by UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank.
What Have We Learnt? Findings from a survey of ministries of education on national responses to COVID-19
(4 November 2020) At the height of nationwide lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 1.5 billion children were affected by school closures, causing an unprecedented global learning crisis. Even prior to the pandemic, however, children’s learning was in crisis with half of 10-year-olds in middle- and low-income countries unable to understand a simple written sentence and more than a quarter billion children out of school. The pandemic has only sharpened these inequities, hitting schoolchildren in poorer countries particularly hard. National governments around the world have been quick to implement remote learning, new health protocols and reopening plans, but again these policies have varied widely based on each country’s wealth.
A global learning crisis is undermining children’s education and their futures. Pre-COVID, more than half of children in low- and middle-income countries could not read and understand a simple text by age 10. In poor countries, this “learning poverty” rate was as high as 80 percent. Due to COVID-19, an additional 10 percent of children globally will fall into learning poverty. UNICEF Innocenti’s education research looks to address the learning crisis to ensure that every child learns.
Lessons from COVID-19: Getting remote learning right
The massive scale of school closures has laid bare the uneven distribution of technology to facilitate remote learning and the lack of preparedness of systems to support teachers, and caregivers in the successful and safe use of technology for learning.