Eurydice Today – 20 September 2022
Teaching and learning in schools in Europe during the COVID-19 pandemic
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic strongly disrupted the daily reality of schools across Europe. In 2020 and 2021, the emergency led to school closures in many countries and periods of distance or blended learning for many students. Teachers had to rapidly adapt to new modes of delivery of teaching, in which they had not necessarily been trained; and students had to rely initially on their own resources to continue learning remotely using a variety of traditional and innovative tools. While there were some positive educational effects related to the use of technologies and transversal skills, the pandemic also exacerbated existing educational inequalities and often resulted in learning losses.
This paper therefore highlights some general important aspects related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on schools during the 2020/2021 school year. It first presents an overview of the different organisational measures taken across Europe for this period in regards to schools. It then analyses the main actions taken by top-level education authorities to support the digital capacities of schools and teachers. Overall, the rapid shift to distance or blended learning revealed large differences in the levels of digitalisation between countries as well as between schools, teachers and learners. Looking at the preparedness level of educational systems before the pandemic, the study finds that an online learning management system was only used in half of schools.
Finally, the last section addresses top-level responses to the pandemic in terms of providing additional resources and means for learning support to students who lag behind. The brief is an excerpt from the report ‘Increasing achievement and motivation in mathematics and science learning in schools ’.