Alternative Solutions to School Closure in Arab Countries to Ensuring that Learning Never Stops

UNESCO estimates that, as of 26 March 2020, 165 countries have closed schools and universities nationwide, affecting over 1.5 billion children and youth – or 87% of the world’s student population and a further 11 countries have implemented localized school closures. As stressed during an emergency meeting of the principals of multilateral education partners that virtually took place on 24 March, equity is the principal concern because school closures adversely affect disproportionately vulnerable and disadvantaged learners and alternative distance learning modalities might even exacerbate learning inequities due to the gaps in technology access and in the resources and capacities of schools and teachers.
The Arab region, where 13 million children and youth are already out-of-school due to conflict, has been additionally challenged with more than 100 million affected learners across the region, according to the Global monitoring of school closures caused by COVID-19.
Against this backdrop, the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Education in the Arab States in close collaboration with field offices and cluster offices in the region is urging collective actions aiming to mitigate the collateral impacts of the pandemic on the education sector.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, UNESCO Beirut has been monitoring school closures, national responses, and government circulars. This brief report, available for download below, provides a summary of some measures taken by countries in the region.