8 tracking tools on COVID-19 data for education

At the onset of the pandemic, several organizations began collecting and publishing data on how the crisis would affect the delivery of public services, including education. In this blog, we present the different resources and tools that have been produced so far.

August 18, 2020 by Marc-Antoine Percier, Global Partnership for Education and Tongai Makoni, GPE Secretariat
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5 minutes read
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A set of COVID-19 masks.
A set of COVID-19 masks.
Photo credit: Chantal Rigaud

Schools around the world have closed their doors to face-to-face instruction due to the coronavirus. More than 1.1 billion children and youth worldwide have been put out of school because of the pandemic. More complex are the effects of COVID-19 on the education systems of developing countries, many of which already grapple with providing education for all.

At the onset of the pandemic, several organizations began collecting and publishing data on how the crisis would affect the delivery of public services, including education. In this blog, we present the different resources and tools that have been produced so far.

The purpose of these tools is to provide education practitioners and policymakers a way to better track measures being taken by various countries in response to the pandemic. These tracking tools primarily focus on education sector data; however, a few others go beyond the scope of education and track other public service data. This type of data can be useful at:

  • the global level – having up-to-date information on how governments are reacting to the pandemic is crucial to better understand the extent to which education systems are affected across countries. Timely data on school closures and policy responses can help the global education community drive policy and advocacy efforts, and can be used to conduct additional analysis and simulations on the potential effects of COVID-19 on schooling and learning, as well as the (possible) delay towards achieving SDG 4.
  • the country level – it is crucial to have information and data on which countries are re-opening schools and how to best design context-appropriate education policy responses and reopening strategies. In short, seeing how others are proceeding and learning from different approaches during this crisis is helpful.

Below is a selection of 8 regularly updated trackers that provide information on education and how governments are reacting to the pandemic.

UNESCO COVID-19 Impact on Education

1. UNESCO COVID-19 Impact on Education

At the onset of the pandemic, UNESCO was the first organization to collect and publish data on school closures globally. Their dashboard provides details as to whether schools are closed or open nationally or locally. Using data from the UNESCO Institute of Statistics (UIS), the dashboard provides estimates for the number of children affected by school closures globally. At the country level, the dashboard provides sex-disaggregated information on number of students affected at each education cycle.

Insights for Education - Back to School Country Tracker

2. Insights for Education - Back to School Country Tracker

The Back to School Tracker was created by the foundation Insights for Education. The tool documents the experiences of 183 countries worldwide as schools have begun to reopen. The tracker includes a timeline on school closures and school reopening and puts it in perspective with the number of COVID-19 cases per million people. Interesting information can be found on the tracker, for example whether schools are reopening gradually or not, which grades return to school first, specific social distancing induced changes (double-shifts or reduced sized), other sanitary measures in the classrooms, and whether face masks are required. The data is updated regularly – and while the platform consolidates data from other organizations, the value added from this tool lies in the massive effort to synthesize information drawn from local media reports, social media and government announcements that gives a comparable view of how governments are reopening their schools. Finally, the portal provides analytical summaries of global and regional experiences to better understand challenges and opportunities, particularly in fragile or low-income settings.

3. Center for Global Development (CGD) COVID-19 Education Policy Tracking

The CGD tracker is a database of country education responses to the COVID-19 crisis. The tool provides information on each country’s policy response and reopening plans, as they emerge. While the tracker is not as comprehensive as others, interesting details include the extent of teacher unions’ involvement in reopening, whether reopening is mandatory, or whether there are plans in place for closing again if COVID-19 spikes occur.

IIEP Repository of National Education Response Strategies to COVID-19

4. IIEP Repository of National Education Response Strategies to COVID-19

or decades, the UNESCO International Institute for Educational Planning (IIEP) has been supporting education ministries in educational policy development and education sector planning. On Planipolis, we can find a repository of national education strategies, including those related to COVID-19. The platform includes more than 100 national COVID-19 response plans, which outline a series of practicable strategies to ensure that education systems respond appropriately to the pandemic. These documents can be helpful for governments and development partners to see how other countries are managing the crisis.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Policy Responses to COVID-19 Tracker

5. International Monetary Fund (IMF) Policy Responses to COVID-19 Tracker

In its COVID-19 tracker, the IMF summarizes the key economic responses governments are taking to limit the human and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tracker includes 196 economies and focuses on discretionary measures taken by countries in response to COVID-19, such as automatic insurance mechanisms and existing social safety nets. While it does not include much information on education, useful information can be found on government economic and budget responses, which have an impact on public education spending.

UNICEF: Situation tracking for COVID-19 socioeconomic impact

6. UNICEF: Situation tracking for COVID-19 socioeconomic impact

UNICEF has recently launched a dashboard that monitors the impact on the disruption of essential social services, including on education. The dashboard draws on information collected by UNICEF country offices and provides information on the impact of COVID-19 crisis on different social sectors (child protection, health, nutrition, sanitation, education), and system responses. For education, the dashboard provides interesting information on how countries have implemented distance learning education schemes.

Global Education Cluster Dashboards

7. Global Education Cluster Dashboards

The Global Education Cluster has developed several dashboards on COVID-19 to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on education, and the policy responses in 27 developing countries. Drawing from different sources, the dashboard on impact collates key figures to compare the situation before and after COVID-19.

WFP Global Monitoring of School Meals During COVID-19 School Closures

8. WFP Global Monitoring of School Meals During COVID-19 School Closures

This dashboard by the World Food Programme provides important information on the number of children missing out on school meals in different countries. In addition, it maps the ways governments supply food to children (directly or through mechanisms such as cash transfers) while schools remain closed.

Finally, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and GPE, through GPE’s Knowledge and Innovation Exchange (KIX) will soon operationalize the Observatory on COVID-19 Responses in Educational Systems in Africa. Acting as an observatory of COVID-19 policy responses and emerging research, the project aims to provide policymakers in GPE partner countries in Africa with actionable evidence to inform their decisions about response, recovery and reopening of schools in the context of the pandemic.

The objectives of the Observatory are to:

  • collect and mobilize evidence on a focused set of education system issues that support continuity of learning, as well as negative consequences of school closures, particularly paying attention to gender, equity and inclusion aspects of those issues
  • document education-related pandemic responses that successfully address gender equality needs and equity gaps among vulnerable groups, and
  • use observatory evidence to inform future crisis preparedness and education system resilience.
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interesting articles

the nice article so informative. thank you for sharing

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