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The World Bank’s Board of Directors today approved the US$250 million COVID-19 Pandemic Learning Loss Recovery Project in Brazil. The program will support Brazil’s strategy to promote the resumption of learning and address school dropout rates related to the emergency health crisis, implementing innovative programs and systems to strengthen the management of learning. education in primary and secondary schools in the north and northeast of the country.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted unprecedented challenges on global education. A systematic recovery strategy will enable Brazil not only to reverse pandemic-related learning losses, but also to promote strong and lasting improvement in education,” says the Ministry of Education Victor Godoy Veiga.
Brazil has experienced one of the longest school closures in the region due to the pandemic. According to the Brazilian Ministry of Education, public schools remained closed for an average of 287.4 days (about 9.5 months) while private schools closed for 247.7 days (about 8 months), which represents a public-private difference of 40 days. The North and Northeast regions recorded an even longer period of school closure, with Bahia State recording the longest school closure (366.4 days on average), followed by Roraima (349, 4 days), Rio Grande do Norte (336.5 days), Acre (332.7 days) and Amapá (332.4 days).
Despite efforts to promote online courses, barriers to connectivity, both in schools and in students’ homes, have hindered learning, especially in northern and northeastern regions of Brazil. According to the 2020 school census, only 60% of public schools in Brazil have internet. This situation is even worse in the north and northeast of Brazil, where Internet connectivity is only available in 48.5% of public schools (broadband in only 39%).
The proposed operation aims to bridge regional gaps by supporting innovative online and face-to-face programs. Some key initiatives include: (i) the establishment of National and State School Dropout Observatories (OSD); (ii) an Early Warning System (EWS), to help identify students at high risk of dropping out; Personalized tutoring for teachers and social-emotional initiative (SIS), to rebuild the socio-emotional skills of students and encourage them to learn effectively.
Once back at school, the challenge is to make the students (re)learn effectively. In this aspect, the program has two lines of action: face-to-face approaches by offering a personalized tutoring program (APA) to small groups of students with similar learning gaps; and structured group discussions in the SIS to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic on students’ social-emotional skills. The second line of action focuses on hybrid strategies and education systems to recover learning losses, providing internet connectivity to schools, internet access for vulnerable students under law 14,172 and to bring in the interior municipalities the laboratories of creativity and innovation, facilities in which teachers and principals will be trained to use technology in the classroom and to master the fundamental teaching skills necessary to help students recover from the losses of ‘learning.
The project will also offer support to two innovative education systems: the Education Solutions Ecosystem, which aims to offer a range of educational tools to public schools, including adaptive learning platforms; and the Integrated Education Management Platform, which focuses on integrating the education management system of the Ministry of Education. By strengthening blended learning models, training teachers in the use of technology, and strengthening education systems, the project plans to build resilience to future pandemics and natural disasters that could disrupt learning and teaching. .
“The world faces a silent education crisis. Urgent action is needed. By supporting this comprehensive and innovative learning recovery program, the World Bank is confident that Brazil will become a model for countries in the region on how to address the learning crisis,” says World Bank Country Director Paloma Anós Casero.
Results supported by the program include:
- Creation of National and Departmental School Dropout Observatories (OSD).
- Implementation of an Early Warning System (SAP).
- Implementation of an education and family program.
- Implementation of a Personalized Tutoring Program (APA).
- Implementation of the Socio-Emotional Initiative (SIS).
This International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan to the Ministry of Education is guaranteed by the Federative Republic of Brazil and has a final maturity of 34.5 years, with a grace period of 5 years.