Examining the impacts of COVID-19 on inclusive education

Photo By Geoff Story

Photo By Geoff Story

EEQAPs PI, Dr. Jean-Francois Trani, was recently awarded a R.A.D Grant through the Center for Dissemination and Implementation at Washington University in St. Louis to study the consequences of SARS-Cov-2 on the learning process in primary schools throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan. This large-scale survey will examine current access to distance learning measures and potential changes to the mental and physical well-being of students, teachers, and parents as a result of the current pandemic.

In March 2020, primary schools in Pakistan were closed while schools in Afghanistan did not re-open for the new year in response to the rapid spread of COVID-19 globally. School closings not only impact classroom time, but also increase the risk of child labour, exposure to violent behaviors, long-term delays in educational attainment, and declining mental and physical health. Utilizing current networks through the EEQAP project, 400 phone interviews will be conducted with teachers from study schools to determine three primary measures:

  • Rates of school dropout and child labour in response to schools closing
  • Proportion of children with access to distancing learning at home
  • Physical and mental status’ of students, teachers, and parents

Results from this study will be used to guide policy recommendations for educational authorities in Afghanistan and Pakistan, UN agencies, and US funding bodies to strengthen remote access to education for vulnerable populations and provide support to students, families, and instructors as they transition to alternate forms of learning.