Learning Recovery after COVID-19 in Europe and Central Asia (News and Research 248)

Learning Recovery after COVID-19 in Europe and Central Asia: Policy and Practice | The vision of the ECA Education Team is for education systems to empower all people to reach their full potential. In line with this vision, the purpose of this guidance note is to provide decision-makers with some recommendations and policy advice on effective ways to respond to the education losses engendered by the COVID-19 crisis. These recommendations include specific measures for mitigating learning losses and preparing for school reopening. The note also discusses the opportunity to design and implement structural reforms to make education systems more resilient and, in the process, improve students’ educational performance. Recommendations are also given for longer-term actions with the potential to transform education by strengthening learning and improving learning equity in the future.

The COVID-19 crisis presents an opportunity to restructure educational practices to incorporate valuable lessons from remote learning and develop new strategies for improving student learning and learning equity. Learning Recovery after COVID-19 in Europe and Central Asia: Policy and Practice presents design and implementation details for a learning recovery plan for the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region. The learning recovery plan includes three stages:

  1. Coping with the closing of schools through remote learning, instructional and psychosocial support, and compensatory programs for preventing learning losses
  2. Managing Continuity where reopened schools focus on providing foundational skills in language, math, and science to reduce learning loss and to improve learning among minorities and the poor
  3. Improving and Accelerating learning, by making schools more resilient and equitable through educational innovations that include the lessons learned from remote instruction during the pandemic, and where the entire system is evaluated for results.

Coping with school closures means that governments should ensure access to digital learning by minorities and students in poverty, and that the reopening of schools should be pursued as soon as it is feasible.

Managing the continuity of learning means that reopening of schools—a key step in recovering learning losses because distance education is less effective than in-person instruction—countries should adapt the curriculum to prioritize foundational skills in numeracy, and language, and test students frequently to monitor progress and place students at their right level of instruction. Reopening schools should also include modifications to the classroom infrastructure, to reduce contagion and maintain student health, and provide equal access to digital and hybrid modes of instruction.

Improving and accelerating education results past the crisis stage requires monitoring learning recovery to continuously revise policies, programs, and infrastructure to improve learning outcomes. It also implies investing in technology infrastructure to improve access to digital instruction, and to ensure learning equity. To that end, this stage of the learning recovery plan should:

  • Identify and treat students with low learning and improve their access to quality education
  • Define clear equity goals and allocate budgets and personnel accordingly
  • Implement teacher support and innovations for hybrid instruction
  • invest in internet access and in digital infrastructure and pedagogy; (v) Promote a climate of educational innovation for improving hybrid/blended methods of education delivery
  • Continuously monitor and evaluate impacts to ensure the delivery of quality education and the improvement of learning equity.

The disruption brought by the COVID-19 crisis affected the entire education ecosystem, creating the need for a revolution requiring immediate policy shifts and innovations to develop a new hybrid model of learning and working. This new model would redesign the curriculum, change the educational infrastructure, and retool the modes of delivery of learning by relying on strong partnerships with key stakeholders beyond the boundaries of education. Learning should include all, should be accessible everywhere, and should be affordable and relevant.

Diskusija par augstākās un profesionālās izglītības sasaisti ar darba tirgu | Discussion on linking higher and vocational education with the labor market | How to ensure the connection of vocational and higher education with the labor market and training of specialists necessary for the economy… the international dimension will be brought to the forum by Nina Arnold, Head of the World Bank’s Higher Education Sector, who will talk about international governance and funding trends for performance.

The COVID-19 Cost of School Closures in Earnings and Income across the World – now in print in Comparative Education Review | The article provides estimates of the economic loss associated with COVID-19-induced school closures by mapping lost learning to the lifetime reduction of the earnings of graduates from 205 high-, middle-, and low-income countries. We also estimate economic losses by level of education. The losses are significant:

Education recovery chief quits in English schools catch-up row | Sir Kevan Collins said to be dismayed that his long-awaited £15bn proposals were watered down to a £1.4bn package The government’s education catch-up chief has resigned in protest over the prime minister’s scaled-down recovery plan, warning it “does not come close” to meeting the needs of children whose education has been thrown into chaos by the pandemic…

HLO (Harmonized Learning Outcomes) | Now in print in Nature: Angrist, N., S. Djankov, P.K. Goldberg and H.A. Patrinos. 2021. Measuring Human Capital using Global Learning DataNature 592: 403-408 | Summary in VoxEU | Data