Sue Elliott and Trudean Andrews who are both on the Learning Forward BC Board of Directors have been attending a series sponsored by the Worldwide Commission to Educate All Kids, Post Pandemic
We invite you to read the following report on the South Asia Summit from Trudean Andrews.
All South Asia Summit
June 11th, 2021
WHO ARE “THIRD BUCKET KIDS”?
The improvised closure of hundreds of thousands of schools around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic led quickly and brutally to the world’s third great catastrophe of the pandemic period – to wit, the unintended and largely unanticipated ouster of hundreds of millions of children, at primary and secondary levels alike, from all forms of schooling, “permanently”. In other words, the mass closing of schools led to large masses of “third bucket kids”. (The first two catastrophes of the pandemic period were evidently the public health and economic catastrophes.)
On Friday, June 11th, The Asian Summit was held with presentations from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India. A representative from each participating country briefly described the challenges facing them as they struggle to reengage kids who have dropped out of school as a result of the Pandemic. Although their problems are in many cases different from ours, they have all looked at welcoming kids back into school as an opportunity to do things differently.
In most cases schools have remained closed and will remain so until vaccination levels are much higher. Because of the digital divide, thousands of kids have not been receiving any kid of an education at all including in person or virtually.
Some of the issues facing all of the countries include:
- schools that are not equipped to address the pandemic and countries not equipped in some cases to face medical emergencies.
- Schools, classrooms and teachers are in most cases poorly resourced.
- Vaccination rates that are lagging.
- The digital divide is massive.
- Girls particularly, have been affected and countries are seeing an increase in younger girls being married, with no chance to reenter the school system.
Reports from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh
- Sri Lanka:
Sri Lanka sees post-pandemic education as an opportunity to “reimagine
Education” by reintegrating and retaining students.
- Preparing and implementing a learning recovery plan (special tutorials, one on one and small group instruction.
- Adjusting classroom instruction to fit the needs of the kids.
- Addressing the SEL needs of kids
- Allocating extra funding for teacher training
- Rethinking curriculum so that it supports the whole child:
- 50% learning for mastery of literacy and numeracy
- 30% for creativity, imagination and critical thinking
- 20% for the life skills needed to fight Covid, SEL needs
Like other Asian countries, Bangladesh is seeing a large number of kids (up to several millions), who have left the system and lack proper access to education. Less than 50% of kids have access to radios, computers and television. Many do not have access to the internet.
Plan to reintegrate “Third Bucket Kids”:
- Adopting proven strategies for increasing access.
- Learn from our past mistakes and focus on quality.
- Whole child approach by integrating socio-emotional outcomes and well being.
- Whole ecosystem approach by mobilizing communities and align all stakeholders.
Learning from our past mistakes;
- Data driven teaching at the right level
- Increased contact hours
- Low tech/no tech distance learning
- Teach professional learning
Recommendations Coming Out of the Summit
- Need for a multi-national effort with global leaders and agencies to prevent “Epidemic of Education Poverty
- All countries to be signatories of a Covenant/Agreement to reduce exams, assessment and academic burden in post Covid era.
- Funding and global effort to address mental health concerns.