The COVID-19 has threatened to make education outcomes worse and without aggressive policy, the outbreak across the world will have immediate costs on both learning and the health of children and youth, warns the World Bank.
Education experts at the World Bank in their report “Shocks to Education and Policy Responses” have stated that even before the pandemic, the world was facing a “learning crisis” and was already off track to meet the Sustainable Development Goal 4, which commits all nations to ensure that, among other ambitious targets, all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education.
“Before the pandemic, 258 million children and youth of primary- and secondary-school age were out of school and low schooling quality meant many who were in school learned too 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 deficits,” the World Back education team said in its report.
Pointing out the long term costs involved, the World Bank team has called for an aggressive policy action.
“The policies to turn this around can be grouped in three overlapping phases–coping, managing continuity, improving and accelerating. As rules around social distancing are gradually relaxed, systems need to ensure that schools reopen safely, student dropout is minimized, and learning recovery starts,” the report suggests.
The UN agencies like UNESCO, UNICEF alongside the World Bank and the World Food Program, have recently issued guidelines on how to safely reopen schools but have also warned that the widespread closures of educational facilities hold an unprecedented risk to children’s education and well-being.