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Formal Education: A World Tour

A close examination of education systems across the globe.

Written by Anvita Tripathi and Illustrated by Urvi Agarwal

Between February and July 2020, more than 90 percent of school-going children around the world were affected by school closures. Across settings, the crisis is intersecting with entrenched inequities; and COVID-19 related closures and economic instability pose a threat to areas where there has been important, but uneven progress, such as improvements in primary school enrollment and attainment for girls and the narrowing of gender disparities.

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has changed our perspective as a community for perhaps, forever. Each and everyone of us has been forced to look at the world through a lens so unfamiliar and unsettling to us. And through this novel outlook, we have learned to question the most basic of things. As the lockdown went on, curiosity was fostered within each one of us as we thought about all the things that we once took for granted. And, perhaps for the first time ever there was a worldwide brawl for the most basic of commodities such as education, essential resources, labour forces and so much more.

Among the myriad of systems and orders that were tested by the recent times, few would deny that education systems worldwide, among so many others, were crumbling. The very future of millions of children was dependent on whether or not they had the gadgets, the financial resources and the access to the internet that was needed to avail the boons of online learning. But, what about the children that can’t afford such amenities and had been dependent on nearby public schools that have now been forced to shut down? Accessibility to education systems has taken a freefall.

But let us take a few steps back. Even without that the heavy burden of having to educate the worldwide school and college-going population in the midst of a pandemic, are the education systems of today as sufficient as they promise to be? Do systems of education operate to better suit the needs of their individual nations, or do they organise and structure themselves to promote international uniformity? Moreover, what are a teacher’s thoughts on the education systems that he, she or they have to compose, follow and manage?

Many queries surround the modern-day orders that orchestrate our lives. But in today’s times, almost every bit of knowledge seems to be transparent and accessible to anyone who wishes to search for it. Why shouldn’t it be so for our very own education systems? Here to answer all the questions that rest in the mind of the inquisitive, Curious Case of COVID presents a new series: ‘Formal Education: The World Tour’. Through this series, we will be examining individual formal education systems spread across the globe. Ranging from the most advanced to the most reputed and from the most antique to simply the best there is. Stay tuned to be amazed!

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