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Interactive April 30, 2020

World Bank Education and COVID-19

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Remote Education and Technology: Lessons during the COVID-19 crisis

Technology is one of the most critical tools to support remote learning when learners need to remain outside of classrooms. We are providing the countries with information and resources from around the world on the education response to the crisis: CLICK HERE

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Before the outbreak of the global coronavirus pandemic, the world was already dealing with a learning crisis, as evidenced by high numbers of  Learning Poverty.  With the spread of the coronavirus, the education system is facing a new crisis, as more than 160 countries (as of March 24) mandate some form of school closures impacting at least 1.5 billion children and youth.  Extended school closures may cause not only loss of learning in the short term, but also further loss in human capital and diminished economic opportunities over the long term. 

As seen from previous health emergencies, most recently the Ebola outbreaks, the impact on education is likely to be most devastating in countries with already low learning outcomes, high dropout rates, and low resilience to shocks. While school closures seem to present a logical solution to enforcing social distancing within communities, prolonged closures tend to have a disproportionately negative impact on the most vulnerable students.  They have fewer opportunities for learning at home, and their time out of school may present economic burdens for parents who may face challenges finding prolonged childcare, or even adequate food in the absence of school meals.

An empty classroom in India. Photo: © World Bank
An empty classroom in India.

In addition to closing schools, countries are exploring options for remote learning and use of other educational resources to mitigate loss of learning. This involves capitalizing on work already started, and addressing ever-present challenges like degrees of accessibility within communities to ensure equity in access.

The World Bank’s education team is working to support countries as they manage and cope with the crisis today and is advising on remote learning at scale in the immediate to short term as well as supporting operations to facilitate learning after the pandemic is over.  The Bank is also providing ongoing  support to systemic education reform to ensure that when children do return to school, schools can provide the necessary environments to ensure children learn.

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Last Updated: Jul 24, 2020