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 ▼

Use the following timestamps to navigate different sections of the video.

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.

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

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