School closures, government responses, and learning inequality around the world during COVID-19

Emiliana Vegas

According to UNESCO, as of April 14, 188 countries around the world have closed schools nationwide, affecting over 1.5 billion learners and representing more than 91 percent of total enrolled learners. The world has never experienced such a dramatic impact on human capital investment, and the consequences of COVID-19 on economic, social, and political indicators are unknown but certainly will be dramatic.

Although a majority of governments are making substantial efforts to ensure continuing education opportunities, their capacity for quality learning—especially for the most disadvantaged populations—varies enormously. In this brief, I use data recently collected by the Center for Global Development and combine it with the World Bank’s classification method for countries’ income levels and regions of the world to take stock of the official education system responses to COVID-19 around the world and to analyze how these responses may affect gaps in student learning across regions, countries of various income levels, and countries with different student performance levels as measured by international assessments.
…(read more).

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