By Silvia Montoya, Director, UNESCO Institute for Statistics
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only brought the loss of many lives and severe pressures on health systems, it has also had a severe and negative impact on livelihoods of disadvantaged people and has led to governments closing schools. Both factors threaten the ambitious education targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, notably by exacerbating learning inequities. This blog presents new information about partial closures of schools, proposing a new methodology to estimate the number of affected students and introducing two new dashboards on school closures.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, school closure decisions have evolved as reflected through the data collected by the UNESCO school closures tracker. In March 2020, a drastic decision to close schools affected the vast majority of students, about 1.6 billion. As countries gradually controlled the spread of the virus, schools reopened, fully or partially, by September 2020. According to the UNESCO, UNICEF and World Bank joint survey, 9 out of 10 countries implemented some remote learning modality to mitigate learning losses. A new UNESCO dashboard updates the COVID-19 country profiles with information on the different strategies used for remote learning.
At the beginning of the academic year in the northern hemisphere, the pandemic brought a different response with most countries re-opening schools, using full in-person instruction or hybrid models, which combined in-person attendance with remote learning. Full school closures continued in some regions, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, or closures for some grades, where the conditions for reopening fully did not favour in-presence interaction.Continue reading