School closures and regional policies to mitigate learning loss due to COVID-19: a focus on the Asia-Pacific

Case Studies & Research
52 p.

Global school closures as a result of COVID-19 have caused learning losses for millions of children despite efforts to deploy remote learning options. Greater economic insecurity among families may also affect school enrolment as many struggle to pay school fees, or require children to work to supplement family income. Ultimately, this will lead to rising dropout rates, estimated to be as much as 4% in a region where 128 million children and young people were already out of school before COVID-19. The largest number of learners at risk reside in South and West Asia. Together, the education and economic fallout from the pandemic threaten progress toward the Sustainable Development Goal for education (SDG 4). Even prior to the COVID-19 disruptions, progress towards SDG 4 was lagging in many countries in the Asia-Pacific and without significant contributions to education finance, the pandemic threatens to push the region even further behind. This report breaks down the effects of school closures. It considers, for example, how many schools were closed, and when, across the Asia-Pacific, and the effects on different levels of education from early childhood education, through to primary and secondary school. The report analyses country efforts to implement remote learning, and strategies to mitigate learning losses as the proportion of students expected to fall below minimum proficiency levels is expected to rise.

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