What Steps Are Being Taken to Reach the Most Disadvantaged Students During the Period of COVID-19 School Closure?

This report provides a rapid summary of country-level responses to the management of school closures in 2020, with a focus on the needs of disadvantaged students and the role of technology.

The authors consider low-income, middle-income and high-income countries.

The authors take a broad view of ‘disadvantage’ recognising that it presents itself in several different forms: socio-economic status, ethnicity, language group, gender, geography (including the challenges of remote rural communities), special educational needs and disability. Some students are subject to multiple disadvantage such as children in poor households with disabilities living in remote locations.

The authors have looked for references to all aspects of disadvantage in country-level responses but we have not given prominence to gender. They recognise, of course, that many girls and young women are subject to serious disadvantage but the needs of girls and young women in the context of school closure is the subject of another report published in tandem with this report.

The authors recognise that access to food is immensely important for many disadvantaged students during the Covid-19 crisis, but arrangements to ensure continuity in feeding are outside the scope of this study.

Our starting point was the collection of Covid-19 country-level response documents curated by IIEP- UNESCO on Planipolis: the portal of national education plans and policies. The authors were also guided by the catalogue of country-level ‘edtech’ responses to Covid-19 identified by the World Bank. They supplemented plans from these sources with additional documents found through searches and personal recommendations.