How to Reboot Education Post-Pandemic: Delivering on the Promise of a Better Future for Youth

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May 2022
During the COVID-19 pandemic, 165 million students in Latin America and the Caribbean were abruptly disconnected from education. By the end of 2021, schools had been closed for an average of 237 days, more than anywhere else in the world. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the lives of many people around the world, it has not done so uniformly. Perhaps one of the most devastating legacies of the pandemic is its effect on young people. During one of life's most critical developmental periods, large numbers of young people have been deprived of education and exposed to increased levels of social, health, economic insecurity, domestic violence and abuse. Despite the efforts of the entire educational community to ensure that students maintain some level of learning, the evidence collected in this report shows that many schoolchildren did not participate in meaningful learning activities and that the slowdown in the accumulation of skills and human capital it will have immediate and long-term consequences for the well-being of countries. Why? It wasn't just the pandemic. It was the fact that the region and its educational systems were not well prepared to withstand a shock of this magnitude. The short and long-term effects of the health crisis cannot be understood if the story does not include the starting conditions. The purpose of this report is to provide those responsible for educational policy throughout the region with an idea of the magnitude of the damage, its consequences if immediate, substantial and effective measures are not taken, and the priorities of educational policy taking into account the starting point and the effects of the pandemic. More importantly, the report also provides a compass for the education sector to develop evidence-based responses to the immediate needs of young people, as well as the medium-term measures needed to rebuild our education systems so that be more resilient, equitable, and efficient in developing effective learners throughout life. If we do nothing, we will leave an entire generation behind. Governments have to use all the levers at their disposal to recover, and education is key in that process.