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Education problems due to pandemic could cost Central Asia $ 44 billion

Education problems due to pandemic could cost Central Asia $ 44 billion

The World Bank Online Briefing on Education in Central Asia: Learning During a Pandemic was held this Wednesday, August 5. World Bank experts raised the topic of how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected education in Central Asia.

The coronavirus pandemic has had a lasting negative impact on education. The pandemic has had a profound impact on the quality of human capital and the development of children in Central Asian countries. According to world data, more than half of the population in Central Asia is children, which is why the negative impact of the pandemic is even worse than it might seem at first glance. Experts believe that the global quarantine crisis threatens the future incomes of the younger generation.

Thus, they predict an increase in the level of functional illiteracy among adolescents in the countries of this region.

Prior to the pandemic, the education sector in the regions of Central Asia previously faced a large number of problems. In particular, problems are noted in the elimination of educational poverty, providing equal prospects for vulnerable students. Usually, students from Central Asian states lagged behind their peers in Europe by a year and a half.

The World Bank is deeply concerned about the quite noticeable increase in inequality in the education of children due to differences in family income. This increase in inequality is due to the fact that some families do not have the necessary technology or the ability to use it to fully acquire knowledge through distance learning.

Certain children, according to Aisha Vaud (specialist of the World Bank), need support from the state. The assistance provided by the state can improve the development of a child at times.

As experts noted, distance learning in the near future can easily become the norm in many countries of the world, it is because of this that it is necessary to increase the availability of digital technologies in the countries of Central Asia in the near future, so as not to worsen the results of children in secondary education.

During the briefing, Aisha Wouda outlined the following recommendations for Central Asian countries:

  • Education and the formation of learning skills must be attributed to the most important direction of the national anti-crisis initiatives of the republics of the region;
  • It is necessary to maintain funding for education at the same level at least, and as a maximum to increase it (see. Kazakhstan increases spending on education).
  • Preparation for distance learning should take place.
  • The programs for which distance learning is currently taking place should be improved.
  • Corrective learning for all students in the region;
  • Addressing student inequality through  financial assistance, remedial education, one-to-one tutoring, and tailor-made learning plans for low-income children.
  • Regional cooperation between countries should be organized in order to better allocate funds and share teacher knowledge.

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