The non-state sector provides the only meaningful option for children’s learning in many parts of the world – particularly in low-income countries where government-run systems are often overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the demand for education – but it receives little attention in policy and research.
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the non-state sector has been heavily affected by lockdowns, school closures and the wider impact of the pandemic on economies and societies. Yet, to date, relatively little has been published about how non-state schools have responded to these challenges. In response, Education Development Trust and the Global Schools Forum have worked in partnership, studying schools in 17 countries, to generate an understanding of the impact of the pandemic on these schools, to investigate examples of creative practices schools have used to adapt, and to highlight the areas in which intervention is needed to help sustain the sector, and with it, the learning of millions of children who rely on it.
More than 3 in 4 schools surveyed are experiencing financial difficulties, caused by reduced income from fees, and a need to meet costs associated with delivering learning in new ways during closures and implementing safety measures prior to re-opening. Networks with fewer schools, schools with lower enrolment, and schools that charge lower fees reported the greatest impact on their income.
More than 1 in 3 schools surveyed reported that teachers had resigned or been made redundant during the pandemic. Many teachers had not received their full salary. It remains to be seen whether teachers will return to the profession once schools re-open, or whether this will have longer-term implications for the supply of teachers in low-income countries, compounding the “learning crisis” that existed prior to COVID-19.
School leaders surveyed estimated that children had lost between 5 and 8 months of learning, a figure that will inevitably have increased since the data was collected in April 2021.
Schools reported mixed experiences in maintaining students' access to learning during closures. Whilst over half of school leaders surveyed in India reported that the majority of their students were able to keep learning during closures, this benchmark was achieved by only 11 out of 60 Nigerian schools surveyed and 3 of 60 Kenyan schools surveyed. Among GSF school operators, 21 of out 22 maintained learners' access to education for the majority of students, with 14 of these reporting that access was maintained for more than three quarters of their students.
'For Education Development Trust, this is the third in a series of reports we have produced exploring how Covid-19 has tested education systems. Our intention is always to shine a light on solutions to complex issues. This report focuses on the non-state sector, largely ignored by the educational community throughout the pandemic. It provides considerations for policy and practice.'
Anna Riggall, Global Head of Research & Consultancy
The non-state sector provides the only meaningful option for children’s learning in many parts of the world – particularly in low-income countries where government-run systems are often overwhelmed and unable to keep up with the demand for education – but it receives little attention in policy and research.Download now
The Covid-19 pandemic has been intensely disruptive to education all around the world. With children in many countries continuing to face prolonged absences from the classroom, innovative solutions are needed to maintain education continuity, especially for the most vulnerable students. Such crises require solutions that go beyond the resources of the ‘traditional’ education workforce, with local communities and inputs from other sectors playing a potentially important role in ensuring continuity of learning. This report, the second in our Learning Renewed series, explores the solutions adopted by our team in Kenya, where we have redesigned the roles of community health volunteers (CHVs) to support continuity of learning for the vulnerable girls we work with, and identifies key lessons which may prove valuable both during and beyond the current crisis.
Our new report about systems thinking and its place in education transformation reflects on key published literature and on specific outputs from our own programme of research which has placed emphasis on system reform over the past five years. The work we do at Education Development Trust brings us into direct contact with education systems, and their governments. We are tasked with helping to solve intractable educational challenges. Systems thinking is a vital component part of what we do, how we understand the nature of the issues and how we support change.