The global disruptions to schooling caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have been unprecedented in the history of mass education. These disruptions have resulted in substantial learning losses around the world. Additionally, drop-out rates have increased in some countries, along with early marriage, early pregnancy, child labor, and mental health issues. These negative impacts have occurred in a context of already high learning poverty: estimates suggest that in low- and middle-income countries, the rate of learning poverty—the percentage of students who cannot read and understand a simple text by age 10—increased from 57% in 2019 to 70% today. As schools have reopened, it has been tempting to resume business as usual, on the assumption that once children are back in classrooms their learning will soon get back on track. This would be a mistake. To avoid a permanent impact on the human capital accumulation of this generation, countries need to focus on reversing those losses and accelerating learning.
This Guide presents a R.A.P.I.D. framework to tackle the learning losses caused by the pandemic and build forward better that is based on five evidence-based policy actions: Reach all children; Assess learning; Prioritize the fundamentals, Increase the efficiency of instruction, and Develop psychosocial health and wellbeing. Featuring a menu of policy options as well as resources, country examples and considerations for implementation, the Guide will help education authorities make decisions needed to recover and accelerate learning.