Is there learning continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic? Six Lessons

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An effective education response to the COVID-19 pandemic needs to be built on solid evidence and data. For example, what do you know about your population? How many families own radios and televisions? Do children use — and actually learn from — online learning platforms? How much time — if any — do learners spend studying at home?

While the edtech landscape has drastically changed in the past decade, research on edtech has not kept pace ( At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was initially very little data on efforts to ensure learning continuity during school closures. However, a number of research groups have recently conducted surveys and collected data on the education response to COVID-19. Here, we take a look at some of the emerging evidence and summarise this data in six initial lessons.

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Who has what? Assessing who has access to what devices in the education response to the COVID-19 pandemic

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As with education in general, our ability to respond to COVID-19  in education depends significantly on access to resources by students and teachers. Even in this moment of crisis, governments should inform their decisions regarding education and educational resources on the available data whenever possible. However, we realise that accessing relevant data is not necessarily straightforward and this should not block other elements of system response-recovery-reform. 

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Continue or reboot? Overarching options for education responses to COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries

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The COVID-19 pandemic has far-reaching consequences for public health, including socio-economic issues. The pandemic also has consequences for education. However, in this blog post, I argue that these educational consequences will be felt more by (high-income populations in) high-income countries than low-income populations in low- and middle-income countries, such as the rural poor, who already had low learning levels prior to the outbreak.

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Activating EdTech Jordan: Sprint 6

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This week sees Sprint 6 for Activating EdTech Jordan. It also marks roughly one year since the start of the programme in January 2019. The programme is run by the Queen Rania Foundation under the EDRIL programme, funded by the UK Department of International Development (DFID).

Some of our outputs are available here:

New report on TVET in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Our new report on technical and vocational education and training (TVET) in Sub-Saharan is available in German:

Haßler, B., Stock, I., Schaffer, J., Winkler, E., Kagambèga, A., Haseloff, G., Watson, J., Marsden, M., Gordon, R., Damani, K. (2019). Berufsbildung in Subsahara-Afrika: Eine systematische Aufarbeitung des Forschungsstandes. VET Repository, Bundesinstitut für Berufs-bildung, Bonn, Germany. Creative-Commons-Lizenz CC BY 4.0. URN: urn:nbn:de:0035-vetrepository-775510-9 VET Repository:

A Digital Object Identifier is available too

An English-language version will be available in April 2020. Please register here for a PDF copy:

Some links I always share

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I’m at the TeacherFutures workshop (pre-PCF9) organised by the Commonwealth of Learning. Really interesting conversations with colleagues from Cameroon, Jamaica, Kenya, Kiribati, Nigeria, Uganda, Sierra Leone, South Africa.

In these conversations, I usually refer to a few Open Educational Resources, particularly for teacher professional development. These include the following teacher professional development resources:

These programmes are not the only such programmes, but they are distinct in that they provide concrete resources that are publicly available under Creative Commons.

There are a couple of other programmes I refer to. One is OpenUpResources (, producing an open mathematics curriculum (in the USA) as well as Kolibri (, an innovative hybrid online/offline learning management system (with similar idea to some of the ideas advocated around 10 years ago here).

Announcement of the EdTech Hub: UK aid funds world’s biggest educational technology research project

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The Overseas Development Institute, the REAL Centre (Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge), Results for Development, Jigsaw, Brink and Open Development & Education, together with the World Bank, will partner with DFID to help improve the use of educational technology in low-income countries.

UK aid is joining forces with British universities, researchers and education experts from around the world to create the largest ever education technology research and innovation project.

More than 380 million children worldwide will finish primary schools without being able to read or do basic maths. One of the major challenges for education technology in parts of Africa and Asia is that while governments and schools focus on buying hardware such as laptops and tablets, opportunities for teachers to improve their practice (drawing on the use the technology) to support children’s learning.

The new UK aid supported Educational Technology Hub (the #EdTechHub) is bringing together universities, research companies and education experts to help children, teachers and governments in developing countries get up to speed with the new technology in their classrooms. The Department for International Development (DFID) is working with the World Bank on the EdTech hub, which aims to create the largest global body of research that looks at how education technology is being used and how this can be improved.

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Research and Innovation to Fulfil the Potential of EdTech

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It will be 70 years before we achieve universal primary education for all children, according to the Global Education Monitoring Report’s business-as-usual scenario. How much longer until those children are learning well and their teachers are well-supported? 

70 years is too long to wait. We know technology has the potential to accelerate progress and increase equity — or, it could distract and exacerbate inequality. That’s why, a new programme — the EdTech Hub — we will galvanise a global community in pursuit of catalytic impact, focusing on evidence so we can collectively abandon what does not work and reallocate funding and effort to what does.

With support from UK Aid and in partnership with the World Bank and others, the EdTech Hub will work to advance knowledge and practice through research, innovation, and engagement. It is committed to using rigorous evidence and innovation to improve the lives of the most marginalised.

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TVET Community Report

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Dear TVET forum members,

You may recall our earlier message regarding setting up a TVET directory for Sub-Saharan Africa — many thanks to all those who contributed to this (see here). Since then, with the help of those who have responded, we identified relevant literature and have undertaken a comprehensive literature review of the TVET research literature on TVET in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as conducted numerous interviews. Our results are summarised in a 160-page report (in English).

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