The COVID-19 crisis has affected families, children and educators particularly hard.

Parents have now been burdened with the responsibility of meeting their children’s educational needs.  This burden has been hardest among marginalized communities.  Schools2030 – a flagship program for the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and a coalition of eight other private foundations – is responding to the crisis, according to the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN).

At the heart of this endeavor is listening and learning to frontline educators about “what works” and “why”. AKF has responded with two concrete steps.

First, in partnership with its sister agencies the Aga Khan Education Services and Aga Khan Academies, AKF developed and shared a global review of available tips, recommendations and offline/online learning resources to support families and educators to help children learn during school closures.  The resources were shared across the Schools2030 geographies and with in-country partners.  These resources can be accessed here: Education Resources during COVID-19

Second, to search for and develop local solutions to teaching and learning during COVID-19 that would supplement the global review and materials, AKF and the Schools2030 coalition hosted a number of virtual Human Centered Design (HCD) sessions over several weeks.

As COVID-19 forced educators to think of how schooling might work, representatives from the 10-country coalition engaged in one of the most important design thinking challenges of our time: “How do we continue to provide quality education for all during and after COVID-19?”

To find answers to this, AKF has been hosting initial online “sprint design” sessions for staff and partners of Schools2030 to engage in virtual HCD exercises with the specific aim of addressing the teaching and learning concerns that have now arisen from this unprecedented crisis.

A variety of issues became apparent straight away. Among them: concern for the mental health of families struggling to adapt to these new circumstances; fear for those students who were verging on dropping out; how to know if the children are making the progress that would otherwise be monitored at school; and importantly, how to reach those students whose families do not have access to computers or the internet.  A number of recommendations were adopted and are now available through: Education Resources during COVID-19

Schools2030 is a new 10 year longitudinal learning improvement program working with 1,000 schools across 10 countries, including Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Portugal, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Brazil, and India. The program gives the next generation of children and young people the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values to interact effectively with the world and become contributing members of society.