How Africa Can Reform Education Amid Covid-19 School Closures

The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a historic shock to education, shuttering schools for over 1.6 billion children worldwide. This shock will worsen a pre-existing "learning crisis" in which many learners were learning very little. The World Bank estimates that the percentage of children who are unable to read a simple sentence by age 10 could rise from 53% before the pandemic to 63% as a result of school closures.

These learning losses could stem from a combination of things - forgetting what was previously known, and missing what would have been learned if schools had not been closed. These learning losses can accumulate in the long run. Students who re-enter school far behind the curriculum expectations might be too far behind to learn anything from daily instruction and fall even further behind.

While Covid-19 has held back learning, bold reform is possible and the pandemic presents a historic opportunity to revamp education systems. It could be a time to institute practices and policies that have been needed to address the underlying learning crisis for decades, writes Noam Angrist for The Conversation.

InFocus

Ugandan students report to school (file photo).

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