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Disrupted education trajectories: Exploring the effects of Covid-19 on adolescent learning and priorities for “building back better” education systems in Ethiopia

Journal issue/article

Written by Nicola Jones

Image credit:Nathalie Bertrams/GAGE

The Covid-19 pandemic delivered an unprecedented shock to education systems globally, with school closures affecting 1.6 billion children. The need for evidence to inform policy dialogues about how best to mitigate impacts and support education systems to “build back better” is pressing.

In Ethiopia, schools reopened in October 2020 after a 7-month pandemic-related closure. This article focuses on the extent to which Ethiopia’s education system has adapted to the impacts of the pandemic on adolescents’ education and learning, and has achieved this equitably.

The article draws on mixed-methods data from Ethiopia collected virtually with a pre-existing cohort of 3,066 adolescents during the immediate onset of the pandemic and following the reopening of schools.

Findings highlight that rural adolescents, girls and adolescents with disabilities were less likely to access distance education during school closures and to subsequently re-enrol. Implementation of adaptive measures has been highly uneven, and outreach to support re-enrolment of socially marginalized adolescents very limited.

Authors: Nicola Jones, Megan Devonald, Rebecca Dutton, Sarah Baird, Workneh Yadete and Kiya Gezahegne