Towards resilient education systems for the future – A new joint study launched by UNESCO and IEA

The International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) and UNESCO are launching a study, in partnership with the European Commission, to draw a more comprehensive picture of COVID-19’s impact on global education, entitled “Responses to Educational Disruption Survey (REDS)”.

REDS is part of the collective effort under the Global Education Coalition launched by UNESCO that seeks to facilitate inclusive learning opportunities for children and youth in the context of educational disruption and to establish approaches to develop more open and resilient education systems for the future.

The pandemic has affected students’ learning efficacy on a global scale never encountered before.  Education systems have varied in their responses in this context. Some have introduced home schooling programs and remote learning, offering free online resources, while others are delivering paper-based assignments to students’ homes or using public TV and radio broadcasting channels. What is missing is the first-hand information from schools, collected in a systematic, efficient and scientific manner, that is needed for evaluating the extent to which teaching and learning have been challenged, continued, and adjusted as a result of the current crisis.

REDS intends to bridge this information gap by collecting internationally comparable data from governments, school principals, teachers and students, on how they are prepared for distance learning in times of school closures, as well as during a subsequent re-opening phase, and what measures were implemented to provide all students with the opportunity to continue learning. The study seeks to answer the following overarching question:

How were teaching and learning affected by the disruptions and how was this mitigated by the implemented measures, across and within countries?

Aside from providing insights on the impact of the teaching and learning disruption, the study aims to investigate the contextual factors, issues and implemented measures that may influence the success of distance learning for students across countries. The study will target all different educational levels and will focus on topics around the preparedness for distance learning, available IT and educational resources, perceptions on the success of strategies, student engagement, as well as around inequalities in educational learning opportunities during the disruptions. Additionally, issues concerned with students’ and teachers’ wellbeing will be explored.

REDS is designed to serve as a valuable source of information that will inform the policy and practice for more resilient education systems for the future, also in their pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goal 4 on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education for all, in particular targets 4.1 and 4.4.

The insights may also offer an opportunity to rethink the overall purpose, role, content and delivery of education in the future. For this reason, the study also aims to identify sustainable, transformational concepts that emerged from the crisis and may serve as good practice when schools re-open.

How to get involved?

All interested countries are invited to participate in REDS. We understand the immense pressure currently facing countries, and to encourage wider country participation, we are seeking funds from donor organizations to support countries with participation costs associated to REDS, especially for low-income countries. For the full study proposal or further information please reach out to Huong Le Thu(link sends e-mail) or Dr Andrea Netten(link sends e-mail).

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