International Day of Education – How Bridge is leading the way in Covid-19 Learning recovery.
On January 24th 2022, the 4th annual International Day of Education is observed around the world. This special day of celebration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018 to highlight the role of education in bringing about global peace, cooperation and sustainable development. The theme for 2022 is ‘Changing Course, Transforming Education’, with a focus on strengthening educational frameworks as we continue the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Education suffered huge learning losses in the year 2020-21 with schools closed around the world due to the pandemic, with 1.6 billion children affected at its peak. The World Bank has estimated that $17 trillion in lifetime earnings may have been lost by the so-called ‘Covid Generation’ due to gaps in learning. They cite a lack of access to remote learning as a key factor in these losses. Learning poverty (the percentage of ten-year-olds who cannot read and understand a simple story) may potentially rise from 53% to 70% due to the ineffectiveness of remote learning. This inability to ensure full learning continuity during school closures severely affects 200 million children living in low and middle-income countries. However, technology shows a way forward for education recovery by mitigating learning losses and providing vital resources for remote learning to continue children’s development.
Here at Bridge Andhra Pradesh, we have been at the forefront of this recovery by utilising the excellent technologies at our disposal. The launching of the Bridge@Home programme was vital in keeping children progressing during lockdown. A wide array of learning resources were provided, from activity packs, to digital story packs, to interactive mobile WhatsApp quizzes. Learning Guides, that include concise, easy-to-follow lessons alongside answer keys, meant pupils could reduce disruptions to their learning as much as possible. Parents were easily able to track their child’s progress and facilitate learning from home in a fun and engaging way. However, the crown-jewel of Bridge Andhra Pradesh’s technological assets is the Virtual Learning Platform. It contains over 2,500 video lessons dating back to August 2020, each with recorded instruction, questions, and solutions, which pupils can play and pause at their leisure. This tech-based approach has allowed Bridge to quickly adapt to the challenges facing education during the pandemic. Over 80% of Bridge Andhra Pradesh families have a smartphone, so utilising this convenience and moving resources to be accessible online has been key to mitigating learning losses.
Thankfully, Bridge Andhra Pradesh pupils are now able to return safely to classrooms with many health protocols in place to reduce risk from Covid-19 infection. It is vital that children can study back in classrooms again and see their friends and teachers in person. Social interactions play a key part in children’s development as they progress in their education, and months of school closure have further highlighted that mental health is just as important as a child’s physical health. Feeling like part of a learning community is a great way we can honour the theme of ‘Changing Course, Transforming Education’ this year for International Day of Education. In 2022 we aim to encourage this community spirit in Bridge schools with a range of extra-curricular activities as we further expand the Co-curricular programme. Whether it be arts, music, or scientific exploration, this will provide pupils with a holistic education, developing character alongside pursuit of academic excellence.
The 2022 International Day of Education also pledges to strengthen educational frameworks in order to better face challenges such as school closures. This allows us to focus on education as a right, which gives everyone the opportunity to access high quality education. Bridge Andhra Pradesh leads by example in this respect, with technology and expertise to allow learning gains to continue, even from home. At Bridge, we believe that an excellent educational foundation is one that sets our pupils on a path to future success. By finding ways to keep children progressing through lockdown, and by helping pupils develop their character through Co-curricular activities and community engagements, we believe that Bridge pupils are firmly on that path.
Join us in celebrating this 4th annual International Day of Education, and let’s keep progressing, developing, and learning together!