Today we stand at a crossroads in education. Covid-19, the war in Ukraine, inflation, climate change and unprecedented migrations have exposed the tremendous risks and gaps in traditional education. We see inequities intensified and educational systems, teachers, parents and children pushed to breaking point. As a result of the worst shock to education and learning in recorded history, the World Bank reports learning poverty has increased by a third in low- and middle-income countries, with an estimated 70% of 10-year-olds unable to understand a simple written text. Around the world, 240 million children are out of school.
As the global population of forcibly displaced persons reaches record levels, with 70.8 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, areas with protracted displacement have become even more neglected and the need for education services greater than ever. New solutions are needed to overcome barriers, as teachers, caregivers and schooling systems don’t have the resources to improve learning outcomes. According to the International Rescue Committee, more than 62 million children remain out of school in countries affected by war and displacement, and many others receive a poor-quality education because of humanitarian crises, yet education has received less than three percent of all humanitarian aid in recent years.
Traditional education was not ready for the pandemic and it cannot respond to children in poverty and crisis. School systems are not well designed to address the needs of marginalized students who may be the first in their families to attend school or who enter the school system without having gained early-learning skills during early childhood. Unless we identify transformative innovations responsive for all children, parents and communities, no matter their social, economic status of abilities, it will not be ready for future challenges.