Prioritizing Learning During COVID-19: Launch of Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel Report

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Prioritizing Learning During COVID-19: Launch of Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel Report

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Join us for the launch of a new Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel (GEEAP) report recommending the most effective ways to keep children learning during and post-pandemic.

A new report, “Prioritizing Learning During Covid-19”, provides recommendations from the GEEAP, an independent, cross-disciplinary body composed of leading education experts, including a Nobel Prize winner.

This report draws on insights from the latest research to document the devastating impact of Covid-19 and countries’ responses to the pandemic. It offers guidance on how education systems in low- and middle-income countries can reverse the devastating learning losses and widening inequalities (gender, socioeconomic, and other) caused by the pandemic.

The report presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with education ministers.

See the list of speakers ▼

00:00 Welcome and opening remarks: Prioritizing Learning During COVID-19
05:14 Why we should prioritize keeping schools and preschools fully open
11:39 The economic impact of the school closures and learning losses
14:11 Inequities
17:36 Why early childhood and preschool are important
22:08 Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel recommendations
24:10 Keep schools fully open. Reduce transmission in schools
29:56 Adjust instruction: assessing learning. Helping students catch up
36:23 Support teachers. Leveraging existing technology. Encourage parental engagement
47:32 Structured pedagogical support. Engage additional instructors
53:10 Ministerial observations: Nigeria
1:00:51 Ministerial observations: India
1:12:11 The use of evidence and data during policy making implementation
1:19:31 A system level reset? A strategy for really implementing these changes
1:21:47 Towards a global strategy: The policy world & the academic world
1:25:20 Dealing with households in the early childhood education
1:27:39 Closing remarks

 

Speakers

Read the transcript


  • 00:04 [Abhijit Banerjee] Welcome.   
  • 00:07 This is a very proud moment for us.
  • 00:14 It's the launch of the Global Education Evidence Advisory  Panel (GEEAP) report.
  • 00:26 That's a mouthful, but
  • 00:28 it's something that will jump out as being of immediate and extremely clear relevance.
  • 00:42 The report is on prioritizing learning during COVID-19.
  • 00:47 It's been a massive team effort,
  • 00:53 the panel members... but also thanks to an enormous group of other people who worked with us,
  • 01:04 the panel members, you see them (on screen).
  • 01:10 It's a rather, I'm not going to read the names, but it's a remarkable panel
  • 01:18 in the sense that it's a collaboration between educationist and economists,
  • 01:23 and among both are people who are both practicing policy people and academics.
  • 01:36 It's really across a number of different competencies and different interests. 
  • 01:46 I think what has been extremely satisfying in this  process is the fact that, despite perhaps  
  • 01:53 initial doubts, we've worked together beautifully,  and I think what has come out of this is a  
  • 02:03 rather remarkable product in the sense that  it does cross the boundaries between these  
  • 02:10 different disciplines. At the same time, very  importantly, it sticks to being hard-headed about  
  • 02:21 what the evidentiary standards should be and  where we should draw the line in terms of  
  • 02:31 what is practical and doable now, and in this  moment of many challenges. With great pride,  
  • 02:45 let me declare that this report is now launched. [Kwame Akyeampong] 
  • 02:58 Thank you very much Abhijit. Also, let me add my  warm welcome to everybody attending this global  
  • 03:06 launch. Just to give you an idea of the rundown  of the program which is on your screen. We'll have  
  • 03:15 the scale of the problem, and then we will talk  about the recommendations from the report. Then  
  • 03:23 we will also have administrator observations where  we'll have a few reflections of the presentations  
  • 03:30 in the report. Then we open up for question  and answer session before we close and adjourn. 
  • 03:38 Let me add that the report we are  about to share and discuss was produced  
  • 03:46 by the Global Education Evidence Advisory  Panel, but with the support of the Secretariat,  
  • 03:53 which include researchers at the UK Foreign  and Commonwealth and Development Office,  
  • 03:58 FCDO, the World Bank and UNICEF Office of  Research-Innocenti. The report represents,  
  • 04:07 as professor Abhijit Banerjee has said, the  consensus recommendations of an independent  
  • 04:14 interdisciplinary panel of global experts who  have based their recommendations on the best  
  • 04:20 evidence during a rapidly changing global health  crisis. We look forward to engaging with you  
  • 04:28 and sharing the key highlights and  findings from this report. Thank you. 
  • 04:39 [Abhijit Banerjee] Now, I think I'm supposed to  
  • 04:45 share this session, but I think the title’s  slide says everything. It's very clear that  
  • 04:56 I think that the starting point  of this conversation has to be  
  • 05:00 an appreciation of the scale of the problem  created by COVID-19, which builds on a  
  • 05:08 problem that preexisted, and I think it's  important to keep that in mind. So with that,  
  • 05:13 I will invite Jaime Saavedra, head of Education  Global Practice at the World Bank to speak. 
  • 05:20 [Jaime Saavedra] Thank you very much  
  • 05:23 Abhijit and Kwame for the production. Yes, this  is great and an honor to be part of this panel.  
  • 05:34 As you say, this is a consensus to you all people  coming from different disciplines, and it comes in  
  • 05:39 the moment of real crisis. Unfortunately, if  we would have this discussion two years ago,  
  • 05:46 we would have already said that we were in a  crisis , education was in a crisis. We were  
  • 05:51 already saying that more than half of children  in the developing world were not able to read by  
  • 05:57 age 10, despite the fact that most of those kids  were at school. We had a learning crisis already  
  • 06:05 despite a very large increases in  enrollments during the last few decades,  
  • 06:10 that schooling was not being turned into learning. Then the crisis hit, and most governments,  
  • 06:18 or basically almost all governments in the world  chose school closures as part of the arsenal  
  • 06:25 to fight the pandemic. There was no evidence,  at that moment, if that will have an impact in  
  • 06:31 terms of the reduction on infection and infection  rates, but actually that's what countries did. We  
  • 06:37 had very little evidence at that moment, what were  going to be the benefits of those school closures.  
  • 06:43 There was some knowledge in the academic world  and in some places that that could generate some  
  • 06:49 costs, because we knew about the loss of learning  after summer breaks or after a teacher's strike,  
  • 06:56 we have seen the impacts of Ebola. We have  seen impacts of the earthquake in Pakistan,  
  • 07:04 but actually, from the perspective of all the  governments in the world, basically school closed.  
  • 07:11 There was the attempts of doing remote learning in  almost all countries. But basically countries are  
  • 07:18 starting to figure out, what's going to be? How  are we going to deal with this? Unfortunately,  
  • 07:24 all these summer breaks, teacher's strikes,  even natural disasters have had relatively short  
  • 07:33 processes of closing schools for a short period of  time. As we see in the next light, unfortunately,  
  • 07:40 first of all, all systems closed, and this  is data for April 30 of 2020, what's in green  
  • 07:49 and dark blue is basically all systems are  closing and in orange, partially closing. So  
  • 07:55 basically we have a shutdown of the whole world  and 1.6 billion children were out of school. 
  • 08:00 But as we see in the next slide, the school  closures remain an issue. Unfortunately,  
  • 08:07 the length of those school closures were extremely  long, and particularly in regions like South Asia,  
  • 08:14 like Latin America, parts of the Middle  East, even by November 1st of 2021,  
  • 08:21 many school systems were only partially  open. Sometimes when we say partially open,  
  • 08:26 it was only a handful of schools who were  open. Overall, we see that it's about 200 and,  
  • 08:31 on average, in low and middle-income countries,  we see that it's about 250 days of schools  
  • 08:36 having lost and even longer in countries  like India, like my own country, Peru,  
  • 08:42 or Philippines or Indonesia, which we  saw extremely long school closures. 
  • 08:48 Unfortunately, despite all the efforts of remote  learning, which obviously in a world with very low  
  • 08:55 internet connections, and despite the  efforts of making remote learning multimodal,  
  • 09:01 the learning losses are really mounting. As we see  in the next slide, we've started since last year,  
  • 09:09 trying to project what will be the impact of this  school closures on learning, and this indicator  
  • 09:18 of learning poverty that we were talking at  the beginning, this percentage of children  
  • 09:22 who cannot read and understand by age 10,  that figure the learning poverty was 53%  
  • 09:28 before the pandemic. Initially, we were  projecting that that will go up from 53 to 63%,  
  • 09:35 our last revisions move that figure to 70%. Both  because of the length of the school closures, and  
  • 09:43 also because of the evidence that we see regarding  the lack of effectiveness and heterogeneity of  
  • 09:48 quality of remote learning. Unfortunately, we  are already seeing not only these simulations,  
  • 09:55 but real data in several countries who would  show that those learning losses are real. 
  • 10:01 On average we see but not for many countries, for  the countries for which we have data, we see that  
  • 10:07 one year of school closures are translated into  about one year of loss learning. Unfortunately  
  • 10:13 we have many school systems in which schools have  been closed for one year or even for two years.  
  • 10:20 With the early data of studies that have done  at some point during 2021, we have seen that  
  • 10:27 South Africa, for instance, that closed for most  of 2020 reading losses at 81% of a year. Data  
  • 10:34 for Karnataka in India also learning losses of  about one year in literacy numeracy. Sao Paulo in  
  • 10:40 Brazil, remote classes learned 75% less of what  they would've learned in presential education.  
  • 10:50 These measures were after a year of school  closures, which unfortunately they continued. 
  • 10:55 In Sao Paulo Brazil, and this is the other figure,  there's 2.5 higher risk of dropout rates than what  
  • 11:02 we see in in person in the in-person regime.  Really worried about the learning losses,  
  • 11:09 really worried about large dropout rates.  We still have a challenge because learning  
  • 11:15 loss has been not measured in many  countries. But just to set the stage,  
  • 11:19 we're in trouble. That's what we need to see.  We are in a crisis over a crisis. Over to you. 
  • 11:37 [Abhijit Banerjee] My apologies. The next  
  • 11:39 speaker is Sue Dynarski who's professor  at Harvard's Graduate School of Education. 
  • 11:46 [Susan Dynarski] Thank you. So I'm speaking to the economic  
  • 11:52 impact of the school closures and learning losses  that were just described in the previous slides.  
  • 12:01 It's possible to estimate the economic impact  of school closures. In fact, several rigorous  
  • 12:07 research studies have done exactly that. These  studies start with empirical evidence from past  
  • 12:13 school closures, both, on prolonged learning loss  and on long term income. For example, in the US,  
  • 12:22 poorer students fall backwards each summer when  schools close for the summer by a month's worth  
  • 12:30 of learning. In Pakistan four years  after a temporary close of schools  
  • 12:36 due to an earthquake, students were one  and a half years behind their peers. 
  • 12:41 The next step is to combine this information about  the learning losses due to closures with evidence  
  • 12:47 on the impact of educational attainment  on income. We know from previous research  
  • 12:54 that in high-income countries, individuals make  on average 8.2% more for each year of schooling.  
  • 13:03 In low-income countries, the figure is 9.3%  more for each additional year of schooling. 
  • 13:10 We can put these estimates on the  relationship between education and earnings,  
  • 13:16 together with the estimates on the relationship  between the school closures and education.  
  • 13:23 We get a very sobering idea of how much  the pandemic is going to be affecting our  
  • 13:28 economies long term. The results are quite  sobering. One credible estimate recently  
  • 13:35 made is that we are going to lose $17 trillion  in wages due to lower educational attainment. 
  • 13:44 As you can see in this graph, students in  low-income countries are going to be bearing  
  • 13:49 the largest share of the $17 trillion burden  as they're expected to lose the equivalent of  
  • 13:56 $300 billion. These estimates they're going to  keep increasing if the school closures continue.  
  • 14:05 Thank you. [Abhijit Banerjee] 
  • 14:07 Thank you Susan.  
  • 14:08 That's pretty sobering. We now have Rob  Jenkins, who's Global Director of Education and  
  • 14:15 Adolescent Development at the UNICEF. [Rob Jenkins] 
  • 14:19 Well, thank you very much Abhijit, and  I'm thrilled to be here with Jaime and  
  • 14:24 Susan and all our other friends and colleagues  that are on the panel, and just greatly appreciate  
  • 14:29 this opportunity. I'm hoping that I'm not stating  the obvious, but just to say that marginalized  
  • 14:36 children, children that were facing disadvantages  prior to the pandemic have disproportionately been  
  • 14:42 impacted by school closures and by the pandemic. Why is that? Well, there's maybe a few interesting  
  • 14:50 data points that I just want to share. One is  if you were a child living in a community that  
  • 14:56 already was experiencing poor learning outcomes,  you had an increased risk of your school being  
  • 15:01 closed for prolonged periods. Basically, we see  a correlation between marginalized communities in  
  • 15:07 terms of learning outcomes, so countries, or areas  of parts of countries which were experiencing poor  
  • 15:13 learning outcomes prior to the pandemic and  those areas, unfortunately, had schools close  
  • 15:19 the longest and continue to have. Just a flag that we have 600 million  
  • 15:23 school children globally still impacted by  full or partial school closures today. It's  
  • 15:29 still very much a crisis happening. If you  live in an area with poor learning outcomes,  
  • 15:34 you have a greater chance of your school being  closed still now and for a prolonged period.  
  • 15:40 Secondly, as a marginalized child, you  have less access to remote learning. So  
  • 15:44 there again, we see disparities increasing. Third, you are less likely to come back into  
  • 15:52 a school that's able to provide the full range of  support required. Meaning catch up programs, full  
  • 16:00 range of psychosocial support, mental health, and  nutritional support, recognizing the importance  
  • 16:07 of midday meals, etcetera. These are some key  factors on why it's so critically important  
  • 16:12 moving forward that we collectively proactively  reach marginalized children within each community,  
  • 16:18 but also prioritize communities as a whole,  countries as a whole that require more support. 
  • 16:25 Who are these marginalized children? It  depends on of course in each context,  
  • 16:28 but there are some common characteristics. They  tend to be poor or living in remote locations.  
  • 16:34 Girls are particularly disadvantaged during this  trying time, adolescent girls in particular who  
  • 16:40 face compounding disadvantages, greater risk  of gender based violence, early marriage  
  • 16:45 and pregnancy, and other demand side barriers.  Also schools are less able to meet their needs. 
  • 16:54 The call to measure and monitor which children are  returning to school and provide support so that  
  • 17:01 they can overcome the barriers and receive full,  comprehensive support as they return to school  
  • 17:06 is going to be absolutely critical in the  coming days and weeks. It's really a now  
  • 17:10 or never moment. Because if we aren't able to  provide those services and the support required  
  • 17:16 when schools open, or if they have opened after  a few days, after a few weeks, if those children  
  • 17:21 have not come back, they will not be coming  back. Building on Susan's point with economic,  
  • 17:27 social, many implications for those children, the  communities they live in their countries. Thanks  
  • 17:32 again for this opportunity. [Abhijit Banerjee] 
  • 17:34 Thank you, Rob and last, but absolutely  not the least, Sally Grantham-McGregor,  
  • 17:41 Emeritus Professor of Child Health and  Nutrition at the University College London.  
  • 17:47 Sally. [Sally  
  • 17:54 Grantham-McGregor] Hi everyone. I just  
  • 17:57 wanted to say a few words about why early  childhood and preschool are important.  
  • 18:04 Children in the first five years of life, it's  well established that the brain is developing  
  • 18:11 faster than any other time, and it is  more sensitive to environmental stimuli.  
  • 18:16 Either beneficial stimuli such as  good nutrition, responsive mothering,  
  • 18:23 opportunities for learning, or on the other  hand for insults such as malnutrition,  
  • 18:32 unstimulating environment, exposure to violence. 
  • 18:38 What is even more important is changes to the  brain function at this age do not disappear.  
  • 18:46 They continue and are sustained through life.  So the effects now will have long term effects.  
  • 18:55 The other point is cognitive development. The  level of cognitive development on arrival at  
  • 19:01 school, on enrollment predict to some extent  how well that child will do in school.  
  • 19:07 Therefore early childhood is critically  important to educational success. 
  • 19:13 Now there's about 138 million and a little more  than that of children in low and middle-income  
  • 19:21 countries who are enrolled in preschool. There is  good evidence that preschool benefits children's  
  • 19:29 cognition, language, social, emotional  development. There is some evidence that  
  • 19:34 this persists and benefits school  achievement in primary school.  
  • 19:40 So if these kids aren't going to school,  they obviously will not get those benefits.  
  • 19:44 But there's worse concerns than that because what  happens to these children when they're at home?  
  • 19:53 We now know extreme poverty has increased,  food insecurity in the home has increased.  
  • 20:02 Maternal depression has increased,  and domestic violence has increased  
  • 20:07 during COVID. All of these things will almost  certainly affect children's development. 
  • 20:16 Now, how does this leave the education services?  
  • 20:25 What we have to expect now is children entering  preschool who've had maybe up to two years of  
  • 20:31 living with COVID, or entering school will  be at a much lower level of development  
  • 20:37 than pre-pandemic children. And those  already in school will be seriously behind,  
  • 20:43 and they will need programs to help them catch up. 
  • 20:53 The other thing we should consider is that young  children are much less likely to get infected  
  • 21:00 and to be seriously ill. Well, they may get  infected, but they won't get seriously ill. And  
  • 21:05 there is some suggestion that they're less likely  to be infectious to spread it. So the obvious  
  • 21:14 conclusion is we should open preschools as soon  as possible, but we need to expand their access.  
  • 21:21 We need to expand them in low-income countries  
  • 21:24 and in poor populations within countries who are  very poorly served at the moment at preschool. 
  • 21:30 We need to supply them with  school meals whenever we can.  
  • 21:38 Though it's not our remit obviously opening  the health I haven't said before, but the  
  • 21:45 access to the health services and nutrition and  parenting services has been severely restricted.  
  • 21:53 We need to open these urgently  too. Okay, back to you. 
  • 21:57 [Abhijit Banerjee] Thank you, Sally.  
  • 22:00 I think it's now Sylvia was going to be here. [Sylvia Schmelkes] 
  • 22:06 Yes. Thank you very much. Well, it is an honor for  me to moderate this second panel with participants  
  • 22:12 who were key in the research behind the  development of this report. Rachel Glennerster,  
  • 22:17 who is Associate Professor in the University  of Chicago and former chief economist of FCDO.  
  • 22:24 Abhijit Banerjee, co-chair of the Global Education  Evidence Advisory Panel, professor of MIT  
  • 22:29 and Nobel Prize in economics, and Kwame Akyeampong  also co-chair of the panel and professor of  
  • 22:36 Education and Development in The Open University. This panel will focus on the recommendations  
  • 22:42 to governments that derive from the learning  crisis described in the previous panel, and from  
  • 22:47 evidence of what works that prioritizes quasi  experimental and randomized research studies,  
  • 22:54 as well as evidence with a focus on equity. The  recommendations are presented in two groups,  
  • 23:00 those oriented towards immediate action, and those  that derive from what schools should continue  
  • 23:06 doing following lessons learned from educational  efforts carried out during school closures. 
  • 23:13 For immediate action, the document recommends  keeping schools fully open and supporting children  
  • 23:19 to return. Evidence is presented on how to reduce  transmission in schools, prioritizing vaccination  
  • 23:27 for teachers, providing masks for continuous use  and improving ventilation. Due to learning losses  
  • 23:35 instruction will have to be adjusted to children  that have fallen behind who should be assessed. 
  • 23:41 Instruction should focus on foundations and  catch up programs should be implemented.  
  • 23:47 Regarding lessons learned during school disruption  recommendations deal with how to leverage  
  • 23:51 existing technology and with a need to continue to  strengthen parental engagement in schools. I will  
  • 23:58 immediately proceed to give the word to Rachel  Glennerster who is as I said, Associate Professor  
  • 24:03 in the University of Chicago. To you, Rachel, [Rachel Glennerster] 
  • 24:08 Thank you very much, Sylvia and great to be  with everybody. You heard in the previous panel,  
  • 24:16 the evidence of the very large economic and social  costs of closing schools and disrupting schools.  
  • 24:24 Any policymaker who is trying to decide what  to do and is facing a surges of infections,  
  • 24:30 which many policymakers are now, have to make an  assessment of the rest associated with schools.  
  • 24:39 We're just going to look at those briefly. There are two main risks. One is the risk to  
  • 24:44 children from catching COVID at school,  and the other is the risk to teachers.  
  • 24:50 We looked at this evidence quite carefully  and all the evidence shows that while  
  • 24:56 children do get COVID at roughly the same  rates as adults. The risk of severe disease  
  • 25:03 or death is much smaller in children and that's  very related to age. The youngest children  
  • 25:11 are very, at facing very much low risks than  older children. So, high schoolers are somewhat  
  • 25:18 similar to adults, but the preschoolers we've just  been hearing about have really very low risks. 
  • 25:27 The risk to teachers can be reduced substantially  with mitigation measures, which I'm going to talk  
  • 25:34 about in a minute, and with those in place,  teachers are very unlikely to catch COVID from  
  • 25:41 students. Instead, most of the transmission  that happens in schools is actually between  
  • 25:46 adults. Which is pretty interesting given  that teachers spend most of their time with  
  • 25:53 students. It's very different from other jobs  which tend to involve adult-to-adult interaction. 
  • 26:01 As they say, while the risks to teachers aren't  zero, if you are worried as a public health group  
  • 26:07 about transmission of the disease. You are really  going to want to focus on places where there's a  
  • 26:13 lot of adult-to-adult interaction and not schools.  They're just not a logical place to try and  
  • 26:20 control the disease. Indeed this is not just a, we  on infectious disease experts on this panel. But  
  • 26:28 if you look at recommendations from public health  advisory panels who are, they would repeatedly say  
  • 26:35 that we should keep schools open, because they  are really not a major driver of the disease. 
  • 26:45 Now we do have to try and reduce risks in school  and there's a lot of good evidence about this,  
  • 26:52 and how to do that. Even in very low resource  settings, in low and middle-income countries.  
  • 26:58 There's randomized control evidence that masks  can reduce transmission and that's true even if  
  • 27:09 not everyone is wearing masks. So even if there  isn't a very high adherence to a mask policy,  
  • 27:15 it can still be quite effective. The more people  who wear masks the better. The better the quality  
  • 27:23 of the mask, the better. Surgical masks have  shown to be much more effective than cloth masks,  
  • 27:29 but cloth masks are effective in reducing  transmission. We also know that vaccines work  
  • 27:37 which is why this panel is calling  on teachers to be prioritized  
  • 27:42 to have vaccinations because we desperately  need them in schools, keeping schools open. 
  • 27:51 We also know that COVID is airborne and that  there are quite low rates of transmission of  
  • 27:56 COVID outside. Which means that ventilation  is a good idea. It does not necessarily mean  
  • 28:03 that you have to have a fancy filter in place.  Simply opening a window or teaching in a room  
  • 28:10 that doesn't have glass in the windows, which  is very common in some tropical countries.  
  • 28:15 That can really help with diluting the presence  of the virus in the air. The quantity of virus  
  • 28:23 that you are exposed to is really determines how  sick you get. So anything that you can do to just  
  • 28:29 reduce the quantity of the virus in the air will  help. Even these relatively simple ventilation  
  • 28:36 approaches can really get the air  circulating and reduce the of risks. 
  • 28:43 Now hand washing has been found to be important  for colds and flu, but we have found very few  
  • 28:50 cases or, researchers have found relatively few  cases of COVID being transmitted through surfaces.  
  • 28:57 So we've put most of the priority in the report  on masks, ventilation, and vaccines. If you put  
  • 29:06 all of that evidence together, you've got very  high costs of closing schools. Good feasible  
  • 29:14 ways to reduce transmission in schools. Low risk  to children from COVID. Low rates of transmission  
  • 29:21 from children to teachers which means that closing  school should really be the very last resort after  
  • 29:32 you've tried everything else, and have no  other ways of trying to reduce transmission  
  • 29:37 because they're really much less risky activities  than many of the other economic activities that  
  • 29:46 we are undertaking. They also have these very,  very high costs, long term costs of disruption.  
  • 29:53 Back to you, Sylvia. [Sylvia Schmelkes] 
  • 29:54 Thank you very much, Rachel and I will now give  the floor to Abhijit Banerjee. Please, Abhijit. 
  • 29:59 [Abhijit Banerjee] Thank you Sylvia.  
  • 30:04 I think that we've already talked about the  size of the learning losses. I think it's  
  • 30:11 worth underscoring something that Jaime already  said which is this is sitting on top of a pre  
  • 30:17 pandemic learning crisis and the characteristics  of that crisis were that it was within each  
  • 30:25 classroom it was very, very substantial  diversity of children's learning levels.  
  • 30:34 Some fifth graders or fifth  grade, other fifth graders are  
  • 30:38 at second grade. Very large differences and  very much concentrated within the same classroom  
  • 30:47 which both makes teaching challenging. Often  makes it tempting to focus on the children who  
  • 30:55 can. So if the syllabus is of the fifth grade,  often the teaching is at the fifth grade level.  
  • 31:01 Even though half the children are at second grade  level. That particular problem is going to be  
  • 31:08 very substantially exacerbated the by the crisis. That's, I think evident from  
  • 31:16 a lot of the things that Jaime already said.  One of them being that the technological  
  • 31:27 substitutes for in-classroom teaching are  unequally accessed. If you have a good internet,  
  • 31:36 if you have can afford to have a good phone. You  are much better positioned to take advantage of  
  • 31:44 them. If you happen to live in a region where  there's good access to networks, you get much  
  • 31:53 better position. If you have parents who have time  to focus on you and make you sit down and follow,  
  • 32:00 one of the things classrooms do is they  introduce a degree of automaticity in the process  
  • 32:07 of learning. Now, it's the onus is on the parents  to make sure that the children who are otherwise  
  • 32:20 inclined to go play, make sure that they  spend their time in front of the radio,  
  • 32:24 in front of the television, in front  of the phone absorbing material. 
  • 32:34 That ability to do so differentiated by  how busy the parents are, whether they have  
  • 32:39 slack in their lives, if they can take the  extra time off, if you are working from 6:00 AM  
  • 32:48 to 6:00 PM, as a domestic. Your children probably  don't have that same chance. Yeah, I absolutely  
  • 32:55 think that this is going to generate both, overall  many children being further behind. Second,  
  • 33:06 the fact that some of the children will be less  hurt than others. And I think both of those  
  • 33:14 will make the teaching challenge of teaching a  more diverse classroom and the teaching needs  
  • 33:20 that imply. Even more maybe demanding that there  were at. I think that there are many things that  
  • 33:34 get discussed in this context of what one can do. I think the key is to start from the idea that  
  • 33:45 we want children to be, we need to identify the  problem. I think less than half the countries  
  • 33:54 right now have even a plan to assess learning  losses so I think that that's a starting point  
  • 34:00 has to be to assess where the children are. I  think without that it's going to be impossible to  
  • 34:08 tailor the instruction. We also know on the other  side, the good news is that we do know what works.  
  • 34:15 There's evidence from many randomized  control trials, that if you actually  
  • 34:20 target children where they are, they  catch up very fast. And the approach,  
  • 34:29 what is sometimes called teaching at the right  level has developed by Pratham and others,  
  • 34:36 is now well-founded and with strong  evidentiary base. The basic idea is  
  • 34:43 to group children by learning levels, at least  for part of the day and liberate the teachers  
  • 34:52 from the pressure of teaching the curriculum. I think those are independent, partly teachers  
  • 35:00 resist where there's evidence that teachers, when  they are asked to implement teaching at the right  
  • 35:09 level programs, they find it difficult because  they feel that it conflicts with their obligation  
  • 35:14 to deliver the curriculum. I think that on the  other hand, we also have evidence the teachers  
  • 35:22 when they're liberated from that pressure, and  when it's clear to the why this is being done,  
  • 35:30 they are able to implement teaching at the right  level programs and at least to learning gains. 
  • 35:39 I think we know that this can be done in schools.  It can also be done outside schools. I think  
  • 35:47 there's large effects of volunteer led programs.  They tend to have the disadvantage that not all  
  • 35:53 children attend. Maybe we can do a better  job of making sure that the children attend  
  • 35:58 these programs. I think that while, maybe  be desirable to also adjust the curriculum,  
  • 36:07 this is a much more fraught issue. So I would  focus right now on a temporary, but very, very  
  • 36:14 focused program for catch-up of the children. [Sylvia Schmelkes] 
  • 36:20 Thank you very much, Abhijit. Now I will give  the word to Kwame Akyeampong who has also been  
  • 36:29 co-chair of the panel, who is co-chair of  the panel, and is professor of education  
  • 36:33 and development to of the Open  University. Kwame, please. 
  • 36:38 [Kwame Akyeampong] Thank you very much.  
  • 36:41 One of the things that we've become much more  aware of is the importance of technology during  
  • 36:46 this pandemic. We know that technology has  become important but we also know that it is  
  • 36:53 not a substitute for in-person schooling. We found  that during the pandemic, remote online education  
  • 37:02 was not available to most students in lower-income  countries and middle-income countries. 
  • 37:08 This is very important. The idea that the  technology is not panacea to the problem of  
  • 37:14 providing quality education to children who are  out of school due to the pandemic. We know that,  
  • 37:23 for example, simply providing a device without  support is ineffective. I think this is something  
  • 37:30 that we need to really focus our attention on  because in many cases, countries shifted to  
  • 37:40 devices that could be used to  continue to provide continuous  
  • 37:44 learning for children. Without the support that  becomes very, very difficult to accomplish. 
  • 37:50 We have seen how technology can be very powerful  in many ways and we've seen how in some countries  
  • 37:57 they've been used to expand support to teachers.  To make sure that teachers are able to use the  
  • 38:04 technology to engage with learners whilst they're  at home. It does have a huge potential when it  
  • 38:11 comes to that. We've also seen how it's been  helped to keep intact with students through  
  • 38:16 phones. This is very important because we know  that one student are out of school, they're at  
  • 38:22 home. During this pandemic, we planned it, there  needs to be continuous contact with them. Mobile  
  • 38:29 phones, in particular, have been the device used  in many countries quite effectively, to keep that  
  • 38:34 contact with children and to help them learn. We  have also evidence of how they've been used to  
  • 38:42 teach children to learn at their level. So, we do know that it has potential  
  • 38:51 to be used effectively, to ensure that children  continue to learn. We also know that despite these  
  • 38:57 widespread use of technology, radio education, for  example, some countries have used radio education  
  • 39:05 which is in many low-income countries have  been the technology they've resorted to.  
  • 39:12 It's been used quite well in many countries.  We also know that this needs to be evaluated,  
  • 39:18 so that we actually understand the  effectiveness of such low technology  
  • 39:23 in ensuring that children continue to learn. Now, I want to now move on to talk about  
  • 39:29 the available technology. Say a bit more about  what we know about the available technology,  
  • 39:36 and what it's able to help us to achieve.  In particular, we know that mobile phones  
  • 39:45 are becoming a promising technology to leverage.  Given that over 80% of household have access to  
  • 39:54 simple feature phones in lower and middle-income  countries. This opens up some real opportunities  
  • 40:00 and possibilities that we should take seriously.  I think that the pandemic has given us this  
  • 40:07 opportunity to think seriously about  low tech, and how we can use it to  
  • 40:13 engage with parents, but also with children. The availability of this mobile technology in  
  • 40:21 many low-income countries has prompted many  countries to look at how they can connect  
  • 40:28 with children using, or with parents, using  this technology. We know that during the  
  • 40:34 pandemic, the texts have been used to notch  successfully parents and learners in Brazil,  
  • 40:42 to increase educational engagement. Another  newer approach has been weekly, one-on-one,  
  • 40:50 targeted phone calls by teachers and mentors to  parents or caregivers of students in Botswana,  
  • 40:57 Bangladesh, and Nepal. These have  shown that if you use it appropriately,  
  • 41:04 it can have positive effects on learning. We haven't found the same,  
  • 41:09 but I must add that it's not the  case in all countries. Especially  
  • 41:14 when it's been tried in Sierra Leone,  it's been found out to be that successful.  
  • 41:18 While mobile phone based interventions have  been highly cost effective in some settings.  
  • 41:23 The use of them by governments remain low among  low-income countries. The technology is available,  
  • 41:28 but they haven't been used as much in  low-income countries. We know, for example, 17%  
  • 41:34 compared to 57% in middle-income  countries, according to one survey. 
  • 41:41 The use of this mobile phone base intervention  should be further evaluated. We think what  
  • 41:47 the parliament has helped us to think  about, is that the these are possibilities  
  • 41:53 but we do need to get further evidence and  evaluate it's cost effectiveness. So overall,  
  • 41:58 we say that these phone based programming through  text messages, and teachers calling students and  
  • 42:05 caregivers, is a highly promising approach that  we should really seriously explore because of the  
  • 42:11 opportunities it provides for us to really engage  at the level which would ensure that there is  
  • 42:17 a continuity in learning. The whole promise many  also do not necessitate the careful use adaptation  
  • 42:25 and testing of technology where appropriate. We  think that this is an area that we need to place  
  • 42:32 some emphasis, and governments need to look at. Let me now tend to the next, which is about  
  • 42:41 parents and how the parental engagement. If the  pandemic has taught us anything at all. It has  
  • 42:49 us that learning doesn't necessarily have  to happen in the classroom. It is important  
  • 42:54 if we want to make sure that children continue to  learn, that there is some continuity when they're  
  • 42:59 at home. The pandemic forced many of us, many  countries to confront that reality. In that case,  
  • 43:06 if you had homes where they had parents who were  more educated, who had more resources. They could  
  • 43:12 then continue providing some supplementary  opportunities to learn for their children. 
  • 43:19 I think if anything at all, this pandemic has  taught us that parental engagement is crucial.  
  • 43:24 We do need to give that a lot of thought and  emphasis. At the same time, we realize that  
  • 43:33 in many low-income countries, especially where  parents are do not have the resources at home,  
  • 43:40 the benefits have not been the same for  everybody. We have to really explore  
  • 43:46 opportunities where we can support parents to  be able to provide a learning when children are  
  • 43:53 at home because we've seen how this has proved  very, very successful in many instances. This  
  • 44:02 is something that we need to place a lot more  emphasis on. We know that emerging evidence  
  • 44:10 suggest positive effects in primary school, in  Botswana, in Bangladesh from support to parents.  
  • 44:16 That's very strong evidence to engage in short,  targeted learning exercises with your child. 
  • 44:22 These results reinforce findings from a review  in non COVID-19 settings which revealed that  
  • 44:28 interventions involving parents via phones,  I could mention text and emails, have been  
  • 44:33 successful in context where communications are  two way, personalized and positive. Evidence  
  • 44:41 that we've looked at during COVID-19, has showed  that SMS text, just taking just SMS text messages,  
  • 44:49 to support parents in preschool, boosted learning  for their children in Costa Rica. It may sound  
  • 44:56 like a very tiny or minor thing to do, but just  providing that link with parents through SMS, text  
  • 45:03 messages has been proven to really boost learning  for children in some countries. In addition,  
  • 45:10 evidence suggests that parents reading to their  children can help reduce their learning loss.  
  • 45:15 This we have found in some countries. We know several intervention to support parental  
  • 45:19 engagement education prior to the pandemic  really yielded good effects. Including additional  
  • 45:27 engagement in Chile, sharing information about our  child's education. We have examples from Ghana,  
  • 45:33 Malawi, Mexico, France, and the US. We  know that these interventions show promise,  
  • 45:38 even in low resource settings. Mostly when  there is a clear path to influence the quality  
  • 45:43 of instruction. I think that is something that  we need to keep in mind, as we found in the case  
  • 45:48 in Indonesia and in Kenya, but not in India. We need more evidence on the extent to which  
  • 45:55 accountability interventions like these  can improve schooling and learning during  
  • 45:59 the COVID-19 school disruptions. This is really  raising the importance of parents, that parental  
  • 46:05 engagement could be leveraged to all also improve  children's mental health. It has been documented  
  • 46:11 that COVID-19 would worsen the mental health of  children and caregivers who are already at risk,  
  • 46:17 and lead to new cases of mental illness. We need  to have interventions that target these caregivers  
  • 46:24 to support them, to ensure that they can  provide assistance to children whilst  
  • 46:31 they're at home. More of this evidence is needed  to conclude exactly what works and does not work  
  • 46:39 in the current context. We believe this is an  important avenue that should be explored further. 
  • 46:46 Now altogether, the evidence suggests that  interventions to promote parents engagement  
  • 46:51 in their children's education can improve student  learning. Either through supporting them directly  
  • 46:56 or increasing accountability of education systems.  I would like to add by stressing this point that  
  • 47:05 while over 50% of high income countries report  trying to engage parents, few low-income countries  
  • 47:12 in our sample that we looked at in the report  do so. There is a gap there. That's something  
  • 47:16 that we need to address. An effort should  be made to ensure that effective, to adopt  
  • 47:22 effective parental and engagement strategies.  To test new ones is crucial as we move forward.  
  • 47:28 Thank you very much. [Sylvia Schmelkes] 
  • 47:30 Thank you very much, Kwame. I am finally going  to ask Rachel, if she can address the question  
  • 47:35 of teacher support. Please, Rachel. [Rachel Glennerster] 
  • 47:39 Thank you. As we've heard, teachers  are facing a very difficult situation  
  • 47:47 with much wider ranges of learning levels  which is already a problem in classes,  
  • 47:58 but has been made much worse by the  pandemic. If you look at what has happened  
  • 48:07 in terms of support to teachers during  the pandemic, you see this very stark  
  • 48:13 difference with low-income countries, providing  very little additional support to teachers despite  
  • 48:22 the very difficult time they've been having and so  this is one of the large gaps that we identified.  
  • 48:29 What kind of support can you provide? Well,  some of the things is... Way to support them is  
  • 48:40 through structured pedagogy programs, which can  help them deal with this range of learning levels  
  • 48:50 in the class, the kinds of support to do the  kinds of programs that Abhijit was talking about. 
  • 48:58 Now, when people have looked at  general skills training of teachers  
  • 49:03 that has not been very effective, what you  want is very targeted support to teachers to do  
  • 49:10 the kinds of things which are now needed given  the much lower levels of learning that they're  
  • 49:18 having to cope with. So simply say, simply  throwing them this much more challenging situation  
  • 49:26 is not going to be help, not going to work  very effectively if you don't provide the  
  • 49:31 support for them to deal with a very changed  landscape. If you move to the next slide. 
  • 49:41 The other thing that you can do to  support teachers is provide additional  
  • 49:49 teaching assistance or tutors to help with  this wide range of learning, but also just this  
  • 49:56 much bigger catch shot that needs to happen.  This has been tried in a number of both high  
  • 50:03 and low-income countries actually, where  you provide tutors or teaching assistance  
  • 50:13 to cover the material that children have missed  out on, or have fallen behind. There's help to  
  • 50:24 teachers themselves, but to help, to cope  with these very challenging class situations  
  • 50:31 but also bringing in additional support  through tutors and teaching assistants.  
  • 50:39 Back to you, Sylvia. [Sylvia Schmelkes] 
  • 50:40 Thank you very much. Well, thank you to the three  of you for the presentations and also for your  
  • 50:46 intensive work on this important report. It gives  dimension to the gravity of the learning crisis  
  • 50:52 and the affectation to the universal right to  education produced by widespread school closures  
  • 50:58 that have exacerbated educational inequity. The  recommendations presented are meant to provide  
  • 51:03 governments with evidence for the decisions  that they are now having to take to fully reopen  
  • 51:09 preschools and schools, and to provide the needed  support. We encourage all countries to take stock  
  • 51:16 of the losses to children's education that  have occurred as a result of the pandemic  
  • 51:21 to use this report as a resource for taking  specific cost effective actions to address  
  • 51:27 these losses. Thank you very much and I will  now turn the word over to Jaime Saavedra. 
  • 51:32 [Jaime Saavedra] Thank you very much, Sylvia. This has been  
  • 51:37 extremely interesting. Let me now turn over  to a great panel that we have in which we're  
  • 51:42 going to hear about what has happened on the  ground and also about what's the importance  
  • 51:46 of all this work. To do that I really have  the pleasure to have me joining in the panel  
  • 51:57 Joan Osa Oviawe who's the commissioner of  education in Edo State in Nigeria. I mean,  
  • 52:05 Dr. Vinod Rao, a good friend who is a secretary  of education in the state of Gujarat in India.  
  • 52:15 Actually, as you're going to see, these are not  random selections of experiences around the globe.  
  • 52:22 These are excellent selections of teams on the  ground who have been doing fantastic work during  
  • 52:29 the pandemic, and now the schools are starting to  open. Finally, we have Charlotte Watts who is the  
  • 52:41 chief scientific advisor or FCDO, who will  discuss with us about the importance of evidence  
  • 52:48 based policy making, particularly in the complex  political and social situations that were living  
  • 52:56 in many countries. We were supposed to have  also Vicky Ford, who is minister for Africa,  
  • 53:01 Latin America and the Caribbean, but  unfortunately she had an emergency. 
  • 53:07 Without further ado, let me further pass the  word to Dr. Joan Osa to let us know a bit  
  • 53:14 about what happened in Edo state, in Nigeria, when  schools were closed. You were able to respond more  
  • 53:22 resilient in a more resilient fashion than many  other systems because of the investments that you  
  • 53:27 have already made in technology and in training  before the pandemic. You survive that period,  
  • 53:34 a complex struggle that you did a  lot. Now the schools have reopening,  
  • 53:38 you're building on that experience of this  past two years, so what would you give us,  
  • 53:44 unfortunately, we have only less than  five minutes, but it gives us snapshot  
  • 53:48 right of today. What is that in which way you're  learning from this past experience and also of  
  • 53:55 the deep recommendations of the conditions  of these panels, what is that resonates with  
  • 53:59 you? Over to you, Joan. [Joan Osa Oviawe] 
  • 54:02 Thank you so much Jaime for the invitation. I'm  going to just speak, because of time constraints,  
  • 54:07 on some key aspects. As you said, it helped  greatly that we had done some previous work before  
  • 54:14 the COVID-19 partial shutdown, however when school  resumed, I think we resumed school in October  
  • 54:22 and as in Edo State was particularly peculiar  because it was also an election year for us.  
  • 54:30 There was all kinds of craziness going on.  What we did immediately after school resumed  
  • 54:38 was to find a way to support those learners,  that we are not able to access our e-learning  
  • 54:51 program during the lockdown. Then there were also,  we discovered initially from an evidence from  
  • 55:00 teachers, based on their interaction with their  pupils, that there were some pupils who had begun  
  • 55:06 learning how to read right before they shutdown. By the time we resume, so we shut down in  
  • 55:13 March 2020, and resume in October. In February  of 2020, we had just started a very, a campaign  
  • 55:24 called Every Child, a Reading Champion to  promote literature, and so as a child, we  
  • 55:30 had been trained, and we trained, and there  was a big push for literacy and numeracy.  
  • 55:37 When we resume back in October, some of the  teachers reported that they notice that those  
  • 55:43 kids who were beginning to read right before the  closure, they obviously were no longer able to,  
  • 55:52 or were not able to read at the pace that  they were before. We adjust the timetable,  
  • 56:00 so spend a little bit more time on literacy  and numeracy, so that helped in plain catch  
  • 56:06 up across the system. The other thing that we  did before COVID-19 was that in 2019, after we  
  • 56:18 did a pupil diagnosis and discover that quite a  number of kids learner were below grade level. 
  • 56:26 We essentially took a radical step to stop the  clock by introducing what it's called teaching  
  • 56:33 at the right level. For two terms, we basically  taught literacy, numeracy, writing, and critical  
  • 56:41 thinking. Having that initial teaching at the  right level structure was enabled us to in  
  • 56:48 October, November, December 2020, we were able to  use that same framework to provide very targeted  
  • 56:59 remedies studies in the critical numeracy and  literacy area that helped us. The other lessons  
  • 57:08 we've learned in our own state is that when we  look at the learning gains and then learning laws  
  • 57:14 during the COVID and post COVID shutdown, we  discovered that there was quite a disparity  
  • 57:20 between our basic school, primary school and  our secondary school. In secondary school, there  
  • 57:27 was a significant loss that we are actually now  trying to remediate. The reason for that is that  
  • 57:38 in the last three years, the reform of our  education system actually started at the  
  • 57:43 basic level because that's the foundation. I'm saying the results of the basic reform,  
  • 57:50 education reform. We are now expanding to  secondary. We are just now this year putting  
  • 57:58 in place the work that is going to help us to  deal with basic, I mean, secondary education.  
  • 58:09 The other thing going forward for us in Edo state  is that we are now introduced and we are just  
  • 58:15 in the process of analyzing our learning  assessment strategy. Prior to now,  
  • 58:20 we've not done any learning assessment so we  don't have any large scale data that tells us  
  • 58:26 how our learners are doing. We've introduced,  we are piloting beginning in February of 2021,  
  • 58:33 I mean, excuse me, of 2022 learning assessments  are three critical meet points in the nine  
  • 58:41 years of basic education, so we are doing basic  testing at basic three, basic six and basic nine. 
  • 58:50 Again, because of the lessons learned from the  basic education reform, we are now applying the  
  • 58:58 same thinking to our secondary schools,  where we now, also by the new academic  
  • 59:04 section in September of this year, we are going  to be ruling out an assessment across all our  
  • 59:14 non-tertiary educational level, secondary  school, TVET, as well as special education  
  • 59:22 for us in special education, and even in  our special education soft, soft sector.  
  • 59:27 We discovered that, I mean, we made effort  during the shutdown to ensure that they were  
  • 59:32 still learning. We've particularly realized that  even our special education need to be repositioned  
  • 59:41 because by introducing skills acquisition, and  so what is driving all of this from a policy  
  • 59:48 standpoint from a strategy standpoint is our  [inaudible] best 2.0 transformation framework,  
  • 59:57 and it's inched on five pillars governance,  teaching innovations, learning for skills,  
  • 01:00:05 school environment, and values. This is giving  us a roadmap to deal decisively with learning  
  • 01:00:13 loss while at the same time making progress in  the eradication of learning poverty in our basic  
  • 01:00:22 education and secondary education system. [Jaime Saavedra] 
  • 01:00:27 Great. Thank you very much, Joan, I  think this was a great tour of the bold,  
  • 01:00:33 you were already implementing bold reforms before  the pandemic, and that allowed you to be bolder  
  • 01:00:40 and confront all the different issues  that we have actually been discussing  
  • 01:00:47 during this event, so thank you very much for  all the work and thanks for sharing it with us. 
  • 01:00:51 Let me now turn to Dr. Vinod Rao. So Vinod, the  Gujarat has been receiving a lot of attention  
  • 01:01:01 for the investments that you have made in  measuring children during levels to monitor  
  • 01:01:05 how children are learning at the classroom, in the  classroom, what's happening in the classroom. You  
  • 01:01:12 have a fantastic monitoring center, and you  have used that during the school closures. 
  • 01:01:18 The question that I have for you is what  are the measures that you're taking now  
  • 01:01:21 to promote learning recovery, right, especially in  the area of foundational learning, and how do your  
  • 01:01:27 priorities and recommendations align to what you  have heard of your recommendations of the panel.  
  • 01:01:35 I know the last time we spoke, we took like two  hours and a half just to review a few of the  
  • 01:01:41 innovations that you were doing, but now you have  only, you have less than five minutes. So over to  
  • 01:01:47 you and your synthesis capacity over to you Vinod. [Vinod Rao] 
  • 01:01:51 Yeah. Thank you so much. I have a  very brief presentation of say seven,  
  • 01:01:55 eight slides. I'll take only four  to five minutes. I'll first share  
  • 01:01:59 that presentation and subsequently  I'll respond to your query. 
  • 01:02:04 [Jaime Saavedra] Super. Please go ahead. 
  • 01:02:09 [Vinod Rao] Can you see the presentation? 
  • 01:02:11 [Jaime Saavedra] Yes. If you click presentation mode,  
  • 01:02:14 that will be better. [Vinod Rao] 
  • 01:02:16 Yes. I hope- [Jaime Saavedra] 
  • 01:02:18 Super. Excellent. Go ahead, please. Go ahead. [Vinod Rao] 
  • 01:02:21 All these years we were struggling with the issue  of schooling without learning. We, in India,  
  • 01:02:32 particularly in Gujarat we almost ensured 100%  enrollment of students, but the learning outcome  
  • 01:02:38 and particularly great appropriate  learning outcome was always a challenge.  
  • 01:02:43 Until now we were grappling with the issue  of schooling without learning, and COVID made  
  • 01:02:48 us grapple with the issue of learning without  schooling, and then came our initiatives most  
  • 01:02:57 of which were technology added initiatives. Next.  Immediately after the lockdown came in March 2020,  
  • 01:03:06 we started home learning initiative, which  was a multi-modal initiative using all  
  • 01:03:11 possible technology driven platforms. It  involved our routine television channels,  
  • 01:03:20 our dedicated channels, which Gujarat government  has, which is through what we call BISAG,  
  • 01:03:27 Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space  Applications, and that has dedicated channels we  
  • 01:03:34 extensively deployed Microsoft Teams  classes. We also had a Gujarat Virtual  
  • 01:03:41 Shala YouTube channel, which we started. Next. We, in 2019, coincidentally, we decided to  
  • 01:03:52 initiate pilot off, energized the textbooks using  QR coding. This coincidentally was launched in  
  • 01:04:01 2020, along with the COVID lockdown. As soon as  COVID lockdown was announced, we distributed,  
  • 01:04:10 energized the textbooks in the month of April,  May, June, and this ensure that as soon as  
  • 01:04:20 the textbooks reached to the students, the  access to live audio, which were learning  
  • 01:04:25 content significantly, or rather dramatically  improved. Next. We saw that until month of June  
  • 01:04:33 of live place across the state, we were in  across the country. We were in 10 and in just  
  • 01:04:39 three months, we immediately short to number one  position with maximum access to edtech content,  
  • 01:04:48 in particularly, our government schools, next.  We went ahead with deployment of extensive  
  • 01:04:58 edtech initiatives like, through, YouTube,  Microsoft teams live classes, Facebook  
  • 01:05:06 channel, JioTV, and millions  viewers benefited out of it. Next. 
  • 01:05:16 Simultaneously we also ensure teachers reach  out to individual students, weekly periodic  
  • 01:05:21 assessments, submitting assessments twice a year.  They were diligently and religiously flowed around  
  • 01:05:27 two lab teachers reach out to individual  students and handed over worksheets and  
  • 01:05:31 collected their answer sheets. Data entry of  performance of each student was conducted,  
  • 01:05:36 learning progress was through centrally through  newly started command and control central for  
  • 01:05:41 schools, which was again launched during the  COVID time. Pratham, is a reputed organization in  
  • 01:05:48 India, which conducts every year, in 2020, 2021,  it ranked as the state with maximum outreach of  
  • 01:05:56 teachers to students during COVID lockdown of  schools. This was possible also because we were  
  • 01:06:02 tracking in real time these teachers initiatives  through our command and control center. Next.  
  • 01:06:09 We simultaneously started social psychological  support for children because it was not all about  
  • 01:06:15 learning content but also about emotional  wellbeing of the student during the COVID times. 
  • 01:06:20 A separate dedicated program was  initiated, which was held by the  
  • 01:06:25 appraised and appreciated by the Ministry  of Education Government of India. Next. Our  
  • 01:06:32 initiative also included the first of its time,  only fully government own company for edtech, so  
  • 01:06:41 Gujarat education technology limited was launched  in 2021. Today it has three million downloads,  
  • 01:06:49 three million students have downloaded the app,  and this is giving free content to government  
  • 01:06:55 school students and at almost negligible cost to  private school students. We are working, we're  
  • 01:07:02 the first state government to start an edtech  company of our own, and we want to beat predatory  
  • 01:07:10 strategies, which many of the tech companies are  doing in India and the rest of the developing  
  • 01:07:17 world, which is extremely exploitative of our  students. Today government itself will provide  
  • 01:07:24 better content, world-class content at almost  free of cost, to private school students and  
  • 01:07:30 absolutely free of cost to government students.  This is also an initiative post COVID. Next. 
  • 01:07:36 Our command and control center for real-time  monitoring. The first of its kind exclusive CCC,  
  • 01:07:41 real-time monitoring, evaluation and  support on key indicators, like attendance,  
  • 01:07:46 learning outcomes. Of course, when schools are  closed, we are monitoring the attendance and  
  • 01:07:50 movement of teachers, our field functionaries. We  have around two lakh teachers in primary schools,  
  • 01:07:56 another almost one lakh teachers in secondary  higher secondary schools. We have about 10,000  
  • 01:08:02 field functionaries for supervisory staff. We are  doing real-time monitoring of their contribution  
  • 01:08:07 during COVID. We have collected about 500  crore data points through these initiatives.  
  • 01:08:15 We are able to see, track the learning outcome  progression of every child sitting here. We have  
  • 01:08:21 student wise progress card,  which we have developed,  
  • 01:08:24 and we are seeing in which learning outcomes  across the state, patterns of learning loss  
  • 01:08:31 across the state on very subjects on various  learning outcomes, we are able to generate  
  • 01:08:36 through extensive deployment of big data  analysis and artificial intelligence. Next. 
  • 01:08:42 We did a statewide survey of access-to technology,  particularly devices. And we came out with certain  
  • 01:08:52 very useful insights. Today state government is  focusing in improving this reach of devices and  
  • 01:08:58 connectivity to all schools and maximum number of  students. Next. This my last slide, for all these  
  • 01:09:06 decades, we were struggling with schooling without  learning. The challenge now is to ensure learning  
  • 01:09:12 without schooling. Across the globe, COVID has  prodded governments to adopt technology assisted  
  • 01:09:18 education. What two decades of improvement and  improvements in technology could not achieve,  
  • 01:09:27 two years of COVID as achieved. We, in many  parts of the world, this crisis was converted  
  • 01:09:33 into an opportunity. Technology is not a solution,  it's not the final solution overarching solution,  
  • 01:09:39 but technology is indeed a very big, useful  tool to improve learning outcomes across  
  • 01:09:46 schools. 85% of school budgets, and  this is something I would request,  
  • 01:09:53 also to focus on, 85% of school  budgets are going for salaries,  
  • 01:10:00 many government they couldn't upgrade their  technology, upgrade their infrastructure over the  
  • 01:10:05 past few years because excessively, budget  was getting diverted for salaries of teachers. 
  • 01:10:13 Today after all these decades post COVID,  we have realized that we need to invest in  
  • 01:10:20 technology and to ensure that technology, which is  every student, at least in some part of the world.  
  • 01:10:28 What actually COVID has done is schooling laws,  that schooling laws has not necessarily learned.  
  • 01:10:38 Schooling laws has not necessarily resulted in  learning laws in at least some parts of the world.  
  • 01:10:44 In some pockets of our state, at least  schooling laws has led to learning gain.  
  • 01:10:50 Today the ability of a poor weak teacher to limit  the learning outcome, the strength of the learning  
  • 01:10:57 outcome of students has been almost nullified.  Every teacher cannot be made outstanding,  
  • 01:11:03 but one outstanding teacher can  be made available to every student  
  • 01:11:06 through deployment of technology. COVID has given  us this unprecedented opportunity for technology  
  • 01:11:13 driven transformation in school education. I  believe we will all have to work with it to  
  • 01:11:19 capitalize on this opportunity. In any case,  even after post COVID, when school's reopen,  
  • 01:11:24 blended learning has become a new normal.  It's not just about offline learning,  
  • 01:11:28 offline plus online technology assisted, plus  physical has become the new normal across India  
  • 01:11:37 and particularly in Gujarat. Thank you. [Jaime Saavedra] 
  • 01:11:39 Thank you very much Vinod, and as this two country  examples or estate examples, really show that,  
  • 01:11:49 I mean, change is possible, that we can really  focus on learning and that, and also technology  
  • 01:11:54 is critical. But as you have said technology  is about complimenting what teachers can do, be  
  • 01:12:03 done with knowledge, even if it's not a panacea. Let me now turn to Charlotte Watts, basically, to  
  • 01:12:15 answer kind of an existential question for all  of us. Why is all this, all the use of evidence  
  • 01:12:22 and data, which is about this, a panel like  this, but it's also one, what we have seen from,  
  • 01:12:28 from Dr. Rao's presentation, the use of data is  critical during policy making and policy making  
  • 01:12:33 implementation? Over to you, Charlotte. I know you  can speak hours about this but we need to do it in  
  • 01:12:39 less than five minutes. Over to you. [Charlotte Watts] 
  • 01:12:42 Okay. I'll have a go. So thank you very much  for giving me the chance to join you today.  
  • 01:12:49 Just to say, Minister Ford sends her heartfelt  apology. She was called away on urgent action  
  • 01:12:56 and asked me to take her place. So I'm FCDO's  chief scientific advisor, and part of my role  
  • 01:13:03 is to support the generation and use of  evidence. This is an agenda that I feel  
  • 01:13:10 very strongly about because, and I'm very  pleased to join you in the launch of this  
  • 01:13:15 report because it is practical, which is what  we really need, but it also is evidence-based. 
  • 01:13:22 The recommendations are really what policy makers  need to make sure that we can reopen schools,  
  • 01:13:28 that schools can remain open and that  children can be helped to catch up,  
  • 01:13:33 but also to thrive and continue to progress.  I mean, I think what the data and evidence,  
  • 01:13:39 this report highlights is just the huge  impacts that school closures have had in many,  
  • 01:13:46 many different contexts on so many aspects  of children's lives and especially hitting  
  • 01:13:52 and impacting on the most vulnerable. We've seen  it in the UK, but also across the world. Clearly,  
  • 01:13:59 there are variations and it's really exciting  to hear the really positive examples of what  
  • 01:14:05 has been successful, but also there's been  broader challenges that we've all faced. 
  • 01:14:12 These impacts, if unaddressed, really have  the risk that learning losses are compounded  
  • 01:14:18 over time, and have a legacy of impact over  decades to come. This is a huge challenge  
  • 01:14:24 that's facing many children, families, teachers,  and governments, and so it is really good that we  
  • 01:14:31 are hearing about these examples and we have the  recommendations coming from the report that tell  
  • 01:14:36 us that there are evidence-based solutions that  can and will deliver results. So, for example,  
  • 01:14:44 we were proud to have supported The Literacy,  a mass accelerator program in Kano state that  
  • 01:14:49 was adopted in response to the pandemic and just  hugely proud of the coverage that that program  
  • 01:14:56 reached of 37,000 children. This program builds  very much on the proven approach of teaching at  
  • 01:15:04 the right level, where students are grouped  according to their skills and knowledge and  
  • 01:15:10 engaged with relatable activities that build their  core skills. We heard a bit about that early on. 
  • 01:15:18 This type of intervention that adjusts  teaching to match children's achievement  
  • 01:15:23 is a key recommendation of today's report and  it's something that in many ways seems very simple  
  • 01:15:30 and intuitive to implement, but in many schools  is still not the standard approach. We think this  
  • 01:15:37 approach can help children not only catch up in  loss learning, but also help strengthen education  
  • 01:15:44 systems in the long term and address the ongoing  learning crisis that was there before COVID hit  
  • 01:15:50 us and has been exacerbated because of COVID. Teaching for the needs of every child, obviously  
  • 01:15:58 depends on reliable data about a child's progress  and attainment. So it's important that investment  
  • 01:16:06 is made in collecting the data and using the data.  Dr. Rao's presentation, I think, is fantastic in  
  • 01:16:14 showing us what the opportunities are of  really to use data in real time to understand  
  • 01:16:21 children's need to track attendance and to track  progress over time and to take actions if children  
  • 01:16:27 are falling behind or if they need extra support. As part of our broader support to education,  
  • 01:16:33 the UK government will continue to invest  spending on strengthening data and evidence.  
  • 01:16:39 And we are pleased that also other funders are  joining us in these efforts. These investments in  
  • 01:16:46 data and evidence speak for themselves the value  of these from the examples that we're hearing.  
  • 01:16:52 But we, and we are investing in them not only  to help inform our own investments in education  
  • 01:16:58 globally to make them more cost-effective, but  also we hope to help support national level  
  • 01:17:05 investments by ministries of education  across lower and middle-income countries.  
  • 01:17:11 An important element to flag linked to that is  the new What Works Hub for global education,  
  • 01:17:17 which will work jointly with  UNICEF and the World Bank to build  
  • 01:17:21 further evidence of successful  approaches to education  
  • 01:17:25 and to ensure the best and latest research  is available to policy makers and teachers. 
  • 01:17:32 But our final word of reflection is, evidence  is critical. Data is critical, but it can only  
  • 01:17:38 get us so far. We also need political will  to strengthen education systems, and deliver  
  • 01:17:45 foundational learning for all. Everyone here  has a really important role in championing this  
  • 01:17:51 agenda. So many thanks to the advisory panel and  to everyone taking part today. We are massing a  
  • 01:17:58 growing coalition that is determined to improve  education globally and ensure that more and more  
  • 01:18:05 children get the best chance to learn. Thank you. [Jaime Saavedra] 
  • 01:18:08 Thank you very much Charlotte and thank you  very much for your continued support and the  
  • 01:18:12 continued support and partnership of the FCDO.  It's great that you have emphasized that it's  
  • 01:18:16 not about the evidence and the design, but  it's also about the political commitment.  
  • 01:18:21 I would add to the implementation capacity. We  need to have all those ingredients for policy  
  • 01:18:25 to really work. Thank you very much for your  participation. Now let me quickly turn to  
  • 01:18:32 Tahir, to share a short, what's going to be a  shorter session of Q and A. Tahir, over to you. 
  • 01:18:39 [Tahir Andrabi] Okay, wonderful. Yeah, it is going to be short.  
  • 01:18:44 My quick preamble is that I've been involved  in a very large assessment diagnostics and our  
  • 01:18:50 target instruction program and design of it. Our  kind of preliminary pre-pilot kind of findings  
  • 01:18:56 suggest that the depth of the problem is  even greater than we are talking about here.  
  • 01:19:01 For sure. Even at fourth grade levels, kids  might be at grade zero. On the positive side,  
  • 01:19:09 it is that governments don't seem to be in denial.  They seem to be accepting. On the teachers side,  
  • 01:19:15 given the caveats that Abhijit talked about  in terms of creating the space for teachers,  
  • 01:19:19 we find a lot of buy-in. So, both good and kind  of bad news, in the scope of the challenge. 
  • 01:19:23 I mean, my question to you, I'll start with,  there are questions on the chat. Given that we  
  • 01:19:28 are short of time, we'll try to answer all  those questions online, but I mean, my big  
  • 01:19:31 question is that we have been thinking about pilot  studies. We talk about research studies, evidence,  
  • 01:19:36 but given that the scale of the problem, I mean,  does it require like a system level reset? I mean,  
  • 01:19:41 what's the strategy for really implementing these  things in whole systems rather than in kind of  
  • 01:19:47 the typical kind of research-based studies that we  have done? What is the strategy there and what has  
  • 01:19:53 that been? I'll have a follow-up for Rachel.  I think that's the time I just may have. 
  • 01:19:58 [Jaime Saavedra] So there, let me just give a snippet.  
  • 01:20:02 I think a key issue is what actually Charlotte was  saying at the end, which is political commitment.  
  • 01:20:08 Actually, we are living war times now. Actually,  we need to use the information that we have. Yes,  
  • 01:20:16 it's greater than we have already pilot studies  and we have evidence, but actually the challenge  
  • 01:20:22 of countries is to implement systemic solutions  to this problem, because actually this has  
  • 01:20:28 been massive. This has been a shock that has to  require an intervention that covers, basically,  
  • 01:20:35 complete education systems. That's why the use  of data-verses is critical, but then it's use of  
  • 01:20:41 interventions that can be scaled up. That's  actually the key thing. Even when we talk,  
  • 01:20:46 when we say it's absolutely critical that we  catch students where they are, at the level  
  • 01:20:52 that they are today, we'll have to do it in,  we'll have to think in each part of the country,  
  • 01:20:57 what is the right intervention  that can be implemented at scale? 
  • 01:21:04 There are low tech and very sophisticated ways  of doing teaching at the right level. In each  
  • 01:21:09 country we need to be pragmatic and we need to  understand what's the implementation capacity  
  • 01:21:14 today, and then have the best teaching at the  right level, given the capabilities of a country.  
  • 01:21:19 Maybe we can only do some sort of  grouping, but that's fine. Let's do,  
  • 01:21:23 I mean this classroom grouping, because that would  be easy through structure to pedagogy to give the  
  • 01:21:28 right instructions to all teachers to do that. We  really need to worry the scale and really need to  
  • 01:21:35 worry about equity. To make sure that we give all  students that minimum level of learning that they  
  • 01:21:42 need. Let me stop there for now. [Tahir Andrabi] 
  • 01:21:43 Okay. Rachel, I'll come to you. That is you have  a unique position of straddling both the policy  
  • 01:21:49 world and the academic world and the research  world. So the question is why, you think about  
  • 01:21:56 a generalized strategy taking in from what  Jaime said, how do we really bring in the local  
  • 01:22:01 contacts, the cultural, political, institutional  commitments. I mean, in some ways the devil is in  
  • 01:22:06 the details in all of this. In terms of thinking  about kind of a global strategy, how do we really  
  • 01:22:11 balance this global versus local and  in your opinion of both as a policy  
  • 01:22:16 maker and a researcher? [Rachel Glennerster] 
  • 01:22:18 Yeah. So I think I'd very much build  on what Jaime was saying, which is  
  • 01:22:25 there's some broad things that we know that  seem to apply in pretty much every country,  
  • 01:22:30 which is, if you are trying to teach children at a  level where they're not there, you're not going to  
  • 01:22:38 succeed. You need to understand where children are  in order to target instruction at the right level.  
  • 01:22:48 How you do that is going to be very different.  You want to first understand what are the issues  
  • 01:22:56 in the way you tailor that global evidence to  the local contacts is you collect data or you  
  • 01:23:04 understand the issues locally first. Is it the  case that students are at a very wide range  
  • 01:23:11 of learning levels in these classrooms? Or is it  just that everybody is at a very low level, right? 
  • 01:23:17 Those are two different situations.  Your response is going to be different,  
  • 01:23:20 but we know we have evidence about  what to do in both of those situations.  
  • 01:23:26 First of all, to tailor things, you need  to understand the local situation. Then  
  • 01:23:31 you need to implement in a way that is  tailored to the implementation capacity.  
  • 01:23:38 So, you can do the more complicated technology  that we heard about in Gujarat or you can  
  • 01:23:47 phone someone, or you can have just tutors helping  out. You get some program I worked on, you get  
  • 01:24:00 people who got a secondary school education in  the community and have them come in and help out. 
  • 01:24:09 You use the resources that you have in any given  contacts to do the thing that we know is right,  
  • 01:24:15 which is teaching at the right level, but also  other things we talked about. Not closing schools,  
  • 01:24:21 this is the main message of this report is don't  close schools. That is something that you can do  
  • 01:24:27 everywhere, except if you are in a really, really  extreme, but it should be the very last thing to  
  • 01:24:35 do. That is because of what we've learned across  the board about the transmission of the disease  
  • 01:24:43 and the mitigation measures. Again, you can  use different, your ventilation is going to  
  • 01:24:48 be different in different settings, some places  it's opening a window, some places it's putting  
  • 01:24:53 in a to filter. The principle is the same. [Tahir Andrabi] 
  • 01:24:59 Okay. Last question. Kwame, you talked about  involving households. One of the key members of  
  • 01:25:08 the households are mothers and mothers have their  own issues with most knowledge about the child,  
  • 01:25:13 but very restrictive in many cases in mobility  and contacting with schools. Maybe I'll direct  
  • 01:25:18 the question to Sally. Sally, how difficult or  how effective has been dealing with households  
  • 01:25:27 in the early childhood thing, and you have  less than one minute to answer and that  
  • 01:25:30 would be the last question. [Sally Grantham-McGregor] 
  • 01:25:38 Sorry. I mean, you can do great things working  with mothers in households, and you can also  
  • 01:25:44 work with groups of mothers, but the thing  is to get to scale quickly. It's very similar  
  • 01:25:53 working with mothers is very similar to working  with children. You have to, first of all, find  
  • 01:25:58 out what they know, what they're doing, build on  what they're doing, understand the local context.  
  • 01:26:07 They're just as good as other teachers. If  you train them, if you train the mothers,  
  • 01:26:11 and lots of positive reinforcement, and keeping  everything at the level of the child so that  
  • 01:26:18 you're not doing activities that are frustrating  for the child or too easy for the child. 
  • 01:26:25 The going to scale is the real challenge. I'm  sure it can be done, but it needs a certain  
  • 01:26:36 amount of supervision. If you've got one  existing, that's fine. You can continue it.  
  • 01:26:42 Most of the parenting programs I know stopped  during COVID and people resorted to texting and  
  • 01:26:50 take-home packages, and using materials  in the home for the children to play with.  
  • 01:26:58 All that can be done, but it needs  a certain amount of organization.  
  • 01:27:02 It needs curriculum in place. There are  curriculum in different places that can be used.  
  • 01:27:11 Mothers, even illiterate mothers, can help. That's  the encouraging thing. If illiterate mothers looks  
  • 01:27:17 at picture books and tells stories, the child's  language will improve and that will lead onto  
  • 01:27:24 better reading. [crosstalk] [Tahir Andrabi] 
  • 01:27:26 We are virtually out of time. I have to pass this  on to Kwame. Kwame great presentation on teachers  
  • 01:27:31 and technology. Can you please wrap it down? [Kwame Akyeampong] 
  • 01:27:34 Okay. Now thank you very much. Thank  you very much, everybody. Thank you for  
  • 01:27:43 being here with us. There's several things  that have come out from this presentation.  
  • 01:27:50 This is a very important moment for the world.  We know just how governments have raced against  
  • 01:27:59 time to make sure we have a vaccine to protect all  of us because if the response was not immediate,  
  • 01:28:08 we knew what the consequences are. I think  that what this report does is to remind us that  
  • 01:28:14 have a similar situation when it comes to  education. That the impact of the pandemic  
  • 01:28:20 on future generations of children is going to  be really, really important. It's our state,  
  • 01:28:29 and this report has really made it clear  that if we don't take action, now, we are  
  • 01:28:34 going to be faced with an even more critical  situation with the future of our children. 
  • 01:28:39 I think that the presentations today that we've  listened to has really made this point clear.  
  • 01:28:45 I want to think on just one or two things to kind  of wrap up this session. I think we are learning  
  • 01:28:51 a little bit more about what you do when you  have schools, when schools are closed. I liked  
  • 01:29:00 what has been happening in the state of Gujarat  India that the issue about learning without  
  • 01:29:06 schooling. We are beginning to understand that  learning just doesn't happen in the four confines  
  • 01:29:12 of a building in a school. We have to think much  more creatively. We've learned how technology  
  • 01:29:18 can provide us an opportunity to address this  space when we have schools that are closed. 
  • 01:29:24 I think this report contains some  very, very important messages  
  • 01:29:28 and recommendations that we believe, the  panel believes that if taking on board  
  • 01:29:33 would really help prepare our education systems  to respond as we move forward. Someone else said  
  • 01:29:40 that we should never waste opportunity as crisis  presents. I think this is a great opportunity  
  • 01:29:45 for us. We've learned from the evidence that  there things we can do. We've also learned how  
  • 01:29:52 systems have actually done some of the things the  evidence has suggested. So we are in a good place,  
  • 01:29:57 but we do need to take action because the  evidence is also very clear that if we don't,  
  • 01:30:01 the impact is going to be devastating. We are very pleased that in this report,  
  • 01:30:06 we have provided some of the latest research to  document the impact and also the responses that  
  • 01:30:15 have been taken by some governments. I hope  that we will all become involved in sharing this  
  • 01:30:22 message and supporting governments to really put  these into practice. Thank you all very much for  
  • 01:30:29 being with us and for all the presenters and the  panelists for sharing thoughts on this report.  
  • 01:30:36 We look forward to moving this agenda forward,  ensuring that every child has an opportunity  
  • 01:30:41 to close that learning gap and also to move  forward in the education. Thank you over to you,  
  • 01:30:50 Abhijit. [Jaime Saavedra] 
  • 01:31:00 You're muted, Abhijit. [Abhijit Banerjee] 
  • 01:31:03 Thank you. I just wanted to say thank you.  There's been amazing discussion, and hopefully  
  • 01:31:10 it will spur a lot of conversations that in  one form or the other, we will on social media,  
  • 01:31:18 in the press, and hopefully we will be able to  
  • 01:31:22 continue to engage with this. I think this is  the beginning, not the end of this process. As  
  • 01:31:30 was said many times, the goal here is going  to be to support the implementation and  
  • 01:31:41 the general absorption of these messages by the  policy system. In that we all have a role to play.  
  • 01:31:52 It's an exciting beginning, and let's continue  with this impetus. Thank you, everyone. 
  • 01:31:58 [Jaime Saavedra] Thanks for everyone.
Read the chat
Liviane

Hello everyone! Please submit your questions and comments now, using the chat feature. We look forward to interacting with you LIVE on January 26th!
Thu, 01/20/2022 - 10:20
Liviane

Abhijit Banerjee, Nobel Laureate and Professor of Economics at MIT, officially launched the report produced by the Global Education Evidence Advisory Panel (GEEAP) : “Prioritizing Learning During Covid-19”.
Wed, 01/26/2022 - 08:06
Liviane

Good morning! Thank you for joining us for this event. We'll be starting shortly.
Wed, 01/26/2022 - 08:09
Liviane

The report provides recommendations from the #GEEAP, an independent, cross-disciplinary body composed of leading education experts. To learn more about the GEEAP, visit the website
Wed, 01/26/2022 - 08:10
Liviane

Jaime Saavedra, Global Director for Education at the World Bank is presenting key facts and recent findings that help understand the impact that COVID-19 has had so far on education.
Wed, 01/26/2022 - 08:12

Prioritizing Learning During COVID-19: The Most Effective Ways to Keep Children Learning During and Post-Pandemic

REPORT | SLIDES | PRESS RELEASE

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