With more than 1.5 billion students around the world affected by school closures due to Covid-19, the disruptive effect of the pandemic on education has been undisputed. In March 2021, UNESCO warned of “a generational catastrophe,” in case policy makers failed to prioritize education recovery.
And while the global vaccine rollout has improved the situation in schools significantly since then, a lot remains to be done to make up for the lost time and to help those who fell behind due to the disruptions the pandemic caused. The OECD – in collaboration with UNESCO, UNICEF and the World Bank – has been monitoring the situation very closely over the past 2.5 years, and its latest “Education at a Glance” report presents some of the group’s findings.
As a deep understanding of an issue is key to successfully addressing it, studying the impact of Covid-19 on education is the first of many steps necessary to limit the long-term effect of the pandemic on today’s students. Thankfully, there appears to be broad consensus among policy makers in this regard, as the vast majority of countries sampled by the OECD are undertaking studies to evaluate the impact of Covid-19 on education.
As the following chart shows, understanding the impact of the pandemic on students’ mental health and well-being is on top of the agenda, with the effectiveness of socially distanced learning strategies and the well-being of teachers also high on the list of issues studied by OECD and partner countries. Interestingly, just 6 in 10 countries are undertaking studies to evaluate the impact of school closures on learning outcomes, which can be significant as recent results from the United States suggest.