Distinguished guests, Dear Friends,
I am honoured to release the report on Effective and Equitable Educational Recovery, developed jointly by the OECD and Education International.
Today’s release comes at a critical time. The COVID-19 crisis has had unprecedented effects on our economies and societies. It has also changed education. We have experienced a school year like no other. Students, teachers and parents alike had to adapt to new ways of teaching, learning and dividing responsibilities between home, school and work.
Let me put this into perspective. Last year, 1.5 billion students in 188 countries were locked out of their schools. Some of them were able to benefit from alternative learning opportunities, with the support of their parents and teachers. But not everyone was privileged enough to stay connected to education during the crisis.
Think about the students from disadvantaged groups. They did not have access to digital learning resources. They also often lacked the support, or the motivation, or the tools to learn on their own. In our member countries, between 10 and 20% of students lost contact with their teachers or their schools during the shutdown. And these numbers rise when looking at the global picture – where one third of students could not access remote learning.
Today, half of the world’s student population is still affected by full or partial school closures, casting long shadows over future generations.
The crisis has exposed the many inadequacies and inequities in our school systems. These range from the computers and broadband connections needed for online learning, to our failure to enable local initiatives and align resources with needs.
Since the onset of the pandemic, the OECD has been working with more than 50 countries to ensure that learning continued when schools were disrupted. We have learnt important lessons on the best practices of teachers, school leaders, local administrators and entire school systems in responding to the crisis. Many of these are reflected on the OECD’s COVID-19 Digital Hub, and earlier this month we published our latest report on the state of education one year into the pandemic.
Today, with the release of the report on Effective and Equitable Educational Recovery we are taking this work a step forward. We are drawing lessons from the crisis and developing principles on how governments and the teaching profession can work together towards an effective and equitable educational recovery.
Crucially, these principles show us a path towards a more effective and inclusive future for education. What future? An education where knowledge, skills and attitudes are all valued. An education that focuses on tackling inequity. An education that empowers teachers to exercise professionalism. An education that continues to build on international exchanges. And an education that champions the culture of innovation unleashed during the pandemic. These are the essence of the 10 Principles for effective and equitable education recovery.
Our schools today will be our economy and our society of the future. Together, we can pave the way for a resilient and inclusive recovery from COVID-19 that works for students, teachers and parents.