The Learning Crisis in Europe and Central Asia (News and Research 292)

Learning recovery plan for countries in Europe and Central Asia

The evidence is clear: countries in every corner of the world are experiencing a learning crisis. Yet even as this is happening, there are more children in school worldwide today that at any other time in history, pandemic-related disruptions notwithstanding. In 2010, the average adult had completed 7.6 years of schooling, more than double the 3.2 years completed by the average adult in 1950. This represents a substantial achievement, but is the additional schooling leading to actual learning and human capital accumulation? In Europe and Central Asia, where school enrollment rates have been high for decades, recent research has shown that student performance on standardized tests in reading, math, and science barely changed between 2000 and 2018.

Why gaps in education are detrimental to the country’s economy and incomes of the population| Почему пробелы в образовании губительны для экономики страны и доходов населения | One of the authors of the Human Capital Index, Harry Patrinos, is sure that the losses from schooling during the pandemic set us back 5-10 years. Why the level of education is falling even in developed countries and the experience of which countries can be useful for Kazakhstan in school education – in an interview with, Garry Patrinos, the manager of the World Bank’s global practice in the field of education in Europe and Central Asia, told. He considers education and health to be the two main factors of the human capital index. And the most important of them is the quality of education.

Uzbekistan approves plans to reform the education system with financial support from the World Bank | В Узбекистане утверждены планы реформирования системы образования при финансовой поддержке Всемирного банка | Joint plans have been identified with the World Bank to improve the system of general education in Uzbekistan, the press service of the Ministry of Public Education reports.

Education Transformation in Central Asia| Орталық Азиядағы білімді трансформациялау | As part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the World Bank’s partnership with Central Asia, Abay University hosted a roundtable on “Transformation of Education in Central Asia.” The roundtable, organized jointly with the World Bank Office in Almaty, was attended by international and regional experts in the field of education from our country and the world, as well as 100 students of the Honors College project of Abay University. The event was hosted by Susanna Hayrapetyan, the World Bank’s Head of Human Capital Development in Central Asia. Rector of the University Darkhan Bilyalov opened the meeting and spoke about the importance of transforming education in Central Asia and the process of reconstruction of the education system of the leading pedagogical university in the country in the post-pandemic period. The rector also spoke about the experience of implementing educational innovations, as well as the challenges facing all universities around the world. He also noted the need for cooperation, exchange of necessary information, mutual support and cooperation between national and foreign organizations. Harry Patrinos, the World Bank’s Head of Global Education, spoke in detail about the impact of the pandemic on the economies and education of the region and the world in his report, “Changes in Education in Central Asia: Global Perspectives.” Participants of the round table discussed international experience in the recovery of the post-pandemic education system and educational innovations that will help in this process, as well as ways to address industry challenges in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. They made presentations and exchanged experiences on the possibilities of transforming the education system in the period of socio-economic recovery.

An Analysis of COVID-19 Student Learning Loss | Learning loss is real. A review of 36 robust studies shows that, on average, students lost 0.17 of a standard deviation, or the equivalent of a /2 years’ worth of learning.

World Bank to support Education Recovery Strategy in Brazil | The World Bank Board of Directors approved the $250 million Recovering Learning Losses From COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil project. The program will support the Brazilian strategy to promote learning recovery and address school dropout rates related to the health emergency crisis, by implementing innovative programs and systems to strengthen education management in primary and lower secondary schools in the North and Northeast region of the country. Brazil had one of the longest school closures in the region due to the pandemic. According to Brazilian Ministry of Education, public schools remained closed for 287.4 days on average (or about 9.5 months) while private schools closed for 247.7 days (about 8 months), representing a 40-day public-private difference. The North and Northeast regions registered an even longer period of school closure, with the state of Bahia registering the longest school closure (366.4 days on average), followed by Roraima (349.4 days), Rio Grande do Norte (336.5 days), Acre (332.7 days) and Amapá (332.4 days). Despite efforts to promote online classes, connectivity barriers both in schools and in students’ homes impaired learning, especially in the North and Northeast regions of Brazil. According to the 2020 School Census, only 60 percent of public schools in Brazil have internet. This situation is even more serious in North and Northeastern Brazil, where internet connectivity is only available in 48.5 percent of public schools (broadband in only 39 percent). The proposed Operation aims to reduce regional gaps by supporting innovative online and face-to-face programs. Some key initiatives include: (i) the implementation of National and State Observatories of School Dropouts (OSD); (ii) an Early Warning System (SAP), to help identifying students at high risk of dropping out; Personalized Tutoring for Teachers and Socioemotional Initiative (SIS), to rebuild students’ socioemotional skills and to incentivize them to learn effectively. Once back in school, the challenge is to make students (re)learn effectively. In this aspect, the program has two lines of action: face-to-face approaches by offering  Personalized Tutoring (APA) Program to small groups of students with similar learning gaps; and structured group discussions in SIS to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on student socioemotional skills. The second line of action focuses on hybrid strategies and education systems to recover learning losses, by providing internet connectivity to schools, access to internet for vulnerable students under the law 14,172 and to take to inner municipalities the Creativity and Innovation Labs, facilities in which teachers and principals will be trained to use technology in the classrooms and to master the foundational teaching skills needed to help students recover learning losses. The project will also offer support to two innovative educational systems: The Education Solution Ecosystem, that aims to offer an array of education tools to public schools, including adaptive learning platforms; and  the Integrated Education Management Platform, that focuses on integrating the education management system from the Ministry of Education. By strengthening hybrid learning models, training teachers to use technology and consolidating education systems, the project expects to build resilience to future pandemics and natural disasters that may disrupt learning and teaching. Outcomes supported by the program include: Creation of National and State Observatories of School Dropouts (OSD); Implementation of an Early Warning System (SAP); Implementation of an Education and Family Program; Implementation of a Personalized Tutoring (APA) Program; and Implementation of Socioemotional Initiative (SIS).

School Is Closed: Simulating the Long-Term Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic–Related School Disruptions in Kuwait | The schooling disruption caused by COVID-19 in Kuwait is among the longest in the world. Using the similarities between the schooling disruptions due to the Gulf War and the schooling disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this note shows that students in school during the COVID-19 pandemic face significant reductions in the present value of their lifetime income. Furthermore, the findings show that students in higher grades during the pandemic are likely to face larger reductions in lifetime earnings than students in lower grades. Kuwaiti females in secondary school who will become civil service workers face a reduction of close to $40,000. The corresponding reduction for males is more than $70,000.


Education Impacts of the Covid-19 School Closures | Mitigating the Learning Losses Caused by the COVID-19 School Closures | Conference jointly organized by World Bank and IDEA at CERGE-EI | 21 June 2022, 13:00 – 18:00 (Central European Summer Time – UTC +2) | Prague, CERGE-EI (The Schebek Palace, Politických vězňů 7, Prague 1) | Format: Hybrid: online and in-person | Register Now | The objective of this conference is to document the size and determinants of the learning loss brought about by school closures, identify policy options to reverse these losses, and setting the bases of a more resilient education system. The Conference is divided into three parts: (1) An overview of the pre-pandemic global learning crisis and the mechanisms through which this was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) The elements of a “Learning Recovery Plan” based on recent evidence of interventions that have proven to be effective to improve learning, particularly among disadvantaged students; and (3) Lessons that can be drawn from the COVID-19 pandemic in the road towards the construction of a more resilient, efficient, and equitable education system. The Conference will be concluded by a panel summarizing a call to action. (Confirmed speakers: Daniel Münich (IDEA at CERGE-EI), Nuno Crato (University of Lisbon), Maciej Jakubowski (University of Warsaw), Gunda Tire (Finland), Lenora Chu (Christian Science Monitor), Lucas Gortazar (EsadeEcPol), Vaclav Korbel (IDEA at CERGE-EI). Thierry Rocher (Ministère de l’éducation nationale and Université Paris X Nanterre), Hjalte Meilvang (Ministry of Education, Denmark), Rafael de Hoyos, Harry Patrinos (World Bank).