Covid Dialogues: Addressing Education Challenges during Covid-19

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Live via Zoom
Students access e-learning content on mobile phones during a class
Students access e-learning content on mobile phones during a class as part of 'Online Education Mobile Library' in Mumbai, India.
Photo: Manoej Paateel |

The Covid-19 pandemic has left hundreds of millions of children out of school, while educational inequities further exacerbate learning loss, especially for the most vulnerable students around the world. To address education access, quality, and equity challenges resulting from and exacerbated by Covid-19, this Covid Dialogues webinar will share policy-relevant evidence on online learning, parental engagement, and girls’ education during Covid times.

The Covid-19 pandemic has left an unprecedented 1.6 billion children and youth out of school. With 85 percent of the world’s student population out of the classroom, and educational inequities exacerbating learning loss, the share of students failing to achieve basic literacy and numeracy is expected to increase by 25 percent

In response to the ongoing crisis, many countries have pursued online learning and encouraged greater parental engagement during school closures to mitigate learning loss. However, differential access to remote learning and home conditions is likely widening educational gaps among students, with children and youth from disadvantaged backgrounds at particularly high risk of being left behind. Meanwhile, as schools slowly begin to reopen, past crises suggest that girls and other vulnerable groups are at high risk of not returning to school. School systems must both encourage school reentry for as many students as possible, while ensuring equitable learning for all. Rigorous evidence is needed to understand how to effectively improve students’ educational outcomes, particularly in light of these challenges, both during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Over the past seven years, J-PAL’s Post-Primary Education (PPE) Initiative has generated policy-relevant research on open questions for improving access, quality, and equity of secondary, tertiary, and vocational/entrepreneurial education around the world. Join us for a discussion on how education systems can support children and youth during this global crisis. The webinar will feature three PPE-funded studies covering research related to online learning, parental engagement, and girls’ participation during Covid times and their impact on students’ educational outcomes.

This webinar is hosted by J-PAL’s PPE Initiative as part of J-PAL’s Covid Dialogues series, which features insights from researchers and policymakers on how to respond with evidence to the Covid-19 pandemic’s most critical policy questions.


Noam Angrist, Panelist
Noam Angrist is the co-founder and executive director of Young 1ove, an NGO based in Gaborone, Botswana that scales evidence-based programs in health and education. He will present insights from his PPE-funded project, Increasing Student Learning through a Phone-based Program during Covid-19 in Botswana.

Oriana Bandiera, Panelist
Oriana Bandiera is a J-PAL affiliate and the Sir Anthony Atkinson professor of economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She will present generalizable findings from her PPE-funded project, Do School Closures During an Epidemic have Persistent Effects? Evidence from Sierra Leone in the Time of Ebola

Michela Carlana, Panelist
Michela Carlana is a J-PAL affiliate and assistant professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. She will present insights from her PPE-funded study, Tutoring Online Project During the Coronavirus Emergency in Italy.

Priyanka Varma, Moderator
Priyanka Varma is a senior policy associate at J-PAL Global and manager of the PPE Initiative. She will moderate the panel discussion. 

Webinar recording