The global disruption to education caused by the COVD-19 pandemic is without parallel and the effects on learning are severe. The crisis brought education systems across the world to a halt, with school closures affecting more than 1.6 billion learners. While nearly every country in the world offered remote learning opportunities for students, the quality and reach of such initiatives varied greatly and were at best partial substitutes for in-person learning. Now, 21 months later, schools remain closed for millions of children and youth, and millions more are at risk of never returning to education. Evidence of the detrimental impacts of school closures on children’s learning offer a harrowing reality: learning losses are substantial, with the most marginalized children and youth often disproportionately affected.
Countries have an opportunity to accelerate learning recovery and make schools more efficient, equitable, and resilient by building on investments made and lessons learned during the crisis. Now is the time to shift from crisis to recovery – and beyond recovery, to resilient and transformative education systems that truly deliver learning and well-being for all children and youth.