COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic on March 11. That seems like a lifetime ago.
Understandably, governments have initially focused their efforts on the health and economic wellbeing of the people they represent. Education has been more of an afterthought. Consequently, learning losses for children mounted when physical classrooms abruptly closed in more than 160 countries with no guarantee of the resumption of quality education in the fall.
The pandemic has made it clear that our education systems lack resilience to endure prolonged school closure. Instead of a seamless shift to high-quality online learning, the world witnessed students, teachers, school authorities and parents scrambling for solutions to keep children from falling behind.
When the global economy recovers, countries that fail to learn from this learning catastrophe will have done a terrible disservice to their children and their own future.
It is well understood that in the knowledge society, to put learning on hold is to severely compromise social and economic progress. This harsh reality demands that education continuity be imperative.
Fortunately, technology enables us to achieve our goal. Quality education can and, in times of crisis, must be delivered at least in part outside the classroom.
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