Promoting a Learning Society Key to Equitable Education Amid COVID-19 — ADB Book

Manila: Educational institutions must work with governments, the private sector, communities, and civic authorities to ensure equitable access to high-quality learning resources during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and beyond, according to a new book published by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“COVID-19 has taught us that flexible learning arrangements and teaching practices are vital to developing relevant skills in a fast-changing world,” said ADB Education Sector Group Chair Sungsup Ra, co-editor of Powering a Learning Society During an Age of Disruption. “Post-pandemic, parents, employers, and other stakeholders outside traditional education institutions are expected to play a greater role in supporting education and lifelong learning.”

The book comprises 21 chapters written by policy makers, practitioners, and researchers. They conclude that COVID-19 provides an opportunity to build education systems that are stronger and more equitable.

Among the ways to make learning systems more resilient and accessible, the book discusses access to technology for teaching and learning, closing the digital gap, improving learning assessment, financing technological innovations, providing students with access to hardware, and ensuring teachers and students know how to maximize the technology.

The book emphasizes the need to build learning societies in which resources are dedicated to promoting lifelong learning. Educators must also reevaluate how learning is assessed, and communities should play a greater role in promoting learning.

“Fifty years ago, Asia showed the world that development was possible,” writes Columbia University Professor and Nobel Laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz in the foreword. “There will have to be a structural transformation to a knowledge-based, services sector, green economy. Nothing could be more important in doing so than to help the countries in the region create dynamic learning societies.”

The book is co-edited by ADB Principal Education Specialist Shanti Jagannathan and Rupert Maclean from the School of Education at RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. It is the latest in the Springer Book Series Education in the Asia Pacific Region: Issues, Concerns and Prospects, first published in 2002.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.

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