Four steps towards equitable education

The World Bank is working with low- and middle-income countries to accelerate the return to school and lay the foundations for better, more resilient and more equitable education systems. Our support revolves around four axes:

  • First, we need to bridge the digital divide to enable effective use of online tools for blended learning and reduce large inequalities in education systems.
  • Second, countries need to step up their investments in qualified teachers, providing hands-on training to improve learning and skills.
  • Third, education must reflect the importance of families and conditions at home, and ensure continuity of learning both in the classroom and in the community.
  • Finally, it needs to be integrated into broader policies that invest and protect young people, including measures to tackle sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment.

Countries around the world are rising to the challenge by deploying new approaches and innovations. Jordan, the Philippines and Turkey are developing new TV and digital content and reaching more children at home.

Rwanda has made extensive use of radio as well as sign language to improve accessibility. Pakistan is providing access to online platforms to more than one million university students, while Brazil is improving internet connectivity and digital educational materials.

In Guyana, we focus on the basic skills that students need to take their education to the next level; teacher training and modification of national assessments to reflect public health needs and wasted time.

In total, the World Bank is working in 62 countries, for a total of $ 11.5 billion in new and restructured projects covering the entire cycle from early childhood to higher education. So far, these Covid-related efforts are reaching over 400 million students and over 16 million teachers.

Learning outcomes are the basis for the development of human capital, the engine that underpins the growth and productivity of every country. The hard-earned human capital gains over the past decade – highlighted in our 2020 Human Capital Index report – are under threat.

That’s why, in the first 100 days of the pandemic response, around half of our total operational commitments – a total of $ 16.7 billion – were spent on human capital priorities, such as education. and health.

Increased debt relief, along with better tax collection and better prioritization and management of public spending, will free up resources that developing countries can devote to educating their people and rebuilding their economies.

Smarter, more equitable and increasingly resilient education systems like Covid-19 are the building blocks on which children’s success will depend. This is a long-term learning program, but the pandemic has propelled the future until today.

This article originally appeared in the Financial Times.

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