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Education outcomes to get worse due to pandemic: World Bank

May 11, 2020

According to the World Bank‘s education team, the novel coronavirus outbreak will have immediate costs on both the learning and health of young children and youth. Experts from the World Bank pointed out that even before the pandemic, the world was facing challenges in education and was not being able to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 4 which states that all nations should ensure children complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education.

The World Bank has been working on the guidelines and policies to minimise the impact of the pandemic on education with different UN agencies. In a report titled ‘The Covid-19 Pandemic: Shocks to Education and Policy Responses’, the team stated that 258 million children and youth were out of school before the pandemic and low schooling quality meant many students learned very little. Even worse, the crisis was not equally distributed. The most disadvantaged children and youth had the worst access to schooling, highest dropout rates and the largest learning deficit. Jaime Saavedra, global director for education at the World Bank says the education outcomes will be worse due to the pandemic. “The pandemic has already had profound impacts on education by shutting down the schools and colleges across the world. The damage will get more severe as health emergency leads to deep global recession,” he said.

However, the education team asserted that it is possible to convert the crisis into opportunity. The report suggests to cope with the closure of educational institutions by ensuring health and safety and education with remote learning. “At the same time, countries need to start planning for the reopening of the schools to prevent dropouts and new techniques to promote rapid recovery in key areas of learning as students are back in school. The key is to not replicate the failures of the pre-COVID systems and work on building methods to improve learning for all students,” states the World Bank report.

As there are long term costs involved, the team has called for aggressive policy action. The report suggests that the policies can be grouped in three phases – coping, managing continuity, improving and accelerating. According to UNESCO estimates, over 154 crore students have been severely affected by the closure of schools and colleges across the globe due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Globally, over 4.1 million people have been infected with COVID-19 virus and close to 3 lakh people have died due to the infection.

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Source: PTI

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