Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford
Presentation: Has Covid-19 Changed the Education Landscape in Developing Countries? Evidence Under School Closures in Uganda
Event: CIES Conference 2022
Presenters: Julius Atuhurra and Mikiko Nishimura
Date: 20 April 2022
The COVID19 global pandemic-enforced school closures led to tremendous losses in learning for all children, and this effect was worse for the younger and more socially disadvantaged children.
A deeper reflection about this experience however, suggests important positive lessons. By forcing classrooms shut, the Covid-19 pandemic might have succeeded in opening-up homes as viable spaces for children’s learning. Second, by confronting parents with the challenge of providing direct support for their children’s learning at home, the closures might have succeeded in bridging connection gaps and strengthening school-community relations which are critical for achieving system-wide education reforms in L&MICs.
We conducted radio talk shows and online group support platforms involving parents, teachers and head teachers in Busoga sub-region, Eastern Uganda. The study identified three key findings. First, home-based learning took root in many households and facilitated gradual changes in parents’ and teachers’ perceptions about their roles in supporting children’s learning. Second, school closures in many areas had the unexpected effect of strengthening (rather than weakening) relations between parents, teachers and schools. Finally, remote learning support in households with children in the foundational early grades was mostly provided by their older siblings. As such, communities could explore more such available local resources to achieve stronger foundational learning for their younger children even under extremely difficult conditions.
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