Lifelong Learning Platform | LLLP - European Civil Society for Education

SOLIDAR – Briefing Note: Universal Access to Education in Times of E-Learning

COVID-19, the most recent coronavirus strain, forced all countries to readjust in these trying times. The outbreak of this respiratory disease, that spreads person-to-person, emerged in November 2019 in China, in the Wuhan region. As authorities did not realise what they were confronted with, and as symptoms are flu-like, the virus spread unchecked until the end of December 2019 and the beginning of January. The first lockdown measures were set in the Wuhan province only at the end of January 2020. In the meantime, the new hotspot for COVID-19 became Italy, and soon after entire Europe. More countries announced different lockdowns, which included limiting group gatherings and confining people to their homes – except for emergency grocery shopping, medical emergencies and work that cannot be performed remotely. As infection cases reached over 300,000 and the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that the spreading of the virus accelerates, the current disruption is bound to last longer than foreseen.

Though the infected go through the most suffering, the disruption affects populations worldwide, especially as lockdown impact all learning activities, formal, informal or non-formal. This does not mean learning has been suspended but that it requires adaptation. Though the numbers update on a daily basis, data from UNESCO reveals that over 1.3 billion learners have been affected by educational institutions closures across all levels of education, with 138 states announcing country-wide closures. All EU learners in educational institutions are affected by this, as there is an EU-wide closure, and the question is how can education be provided while ensuring people are not in limbo and do not suffer from isolation. As teleworking kicked off, online learning is the option for affected learners.

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