Education expenditure, enrolment dynamics and the impact of COVID-19 on learning in Jordan
2 vol.

The policy note is divided into two parts: part I leverages data from the 2017/18 Household Expenditure and Income Survey (HEIS) to explore the utilization of education services by socioeconomic groups, refugee status and gender. It also analyzes data from the latest PISA round to estimate access to technology and online resources before the advent of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Results show that the Jordanian education sector is shaped by substantial inequalities between socioeconomic groups in terms of enrollment and education expenditure. Access to digital devices and the internet at home is also limited and below the average for MENA countries. Survey data from a study commissioned shortly after the first COVID-19 wave in Jordan further suggests that initial feedback on distance learning modalities was mixed. While online platforms were widely used among students, internet connectivity has been a consistent barrier to reliably access education services. Part II simulates the potential impact of COVID-19 on learning outcomes in Jordan and illustrates the magnitude of the education sector challenge. The World Bank has developed a tool to estimate the adverse effects of COVID-19 on children’s learning. The pandemic negatively affects student learning through multiple channels, including school closures and reductions in family income. School closures have a direct impact on student learning by suspending in-person classroom instruction and substantially reducing overall instructional time due to the limitations of distance learning. In addition, reductions in family income may lead to long-term increases in student dropout rates and reductions in education expenditure. The simulation tool accounts for both the length of school closures and the potential impact of income shocks on learning. The simulation outcomes suggest a substantial drop in learning-adjusted years of schooling and future PISA scores, illustrating that the pandemic threatens to undo years of hard-earned progress in the Jordanian education sector.


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