Pandemic Impact on Sustainable Education
Malika A. Dovletmurzaeva
, Tamilla L. Magomadova
and Madina A. Barzaeva
Chechen State University, st. A. Sheripova, 32, Grozny, Russia
Grozny State Oil Technical University named after Academician M.D. Millionshchikov, Kh. Isaeva ave. 100, Grozny,
Keywords: Sustainable Development, Education, Pandemic, Sustainable Education.
Abstract: Sustainable development cannot be achieved solely through technology, political regulation, or financial
mechanisms. Humanity needs to change its way of thinking and behavior. This, in turn, requires the provision
of quality education and training for sustainable development at all levels and regardless of social conditions.
In turn, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed the situation in the field of education in all
countries of the world. The paper considers the consequences of the pandemic impact that hinder the
sustainable education development. In conclusion, Governments are invited to take additional organizational
and financial measures in 2021 to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the ammount
of costs associated with achieving SDG 4, as well as to restore the knowledge lost by students during the
closure period.
The education is one of the priorities of the state's
investment policy, which is reflected in national
projects. While there is still room to increase the
overall spending on education, the main challenge at
the moment is to improve the effectiveness,
efficiency and equity of public expenditure. In order
to ensure that the diversity of Russian conditions is
taken into account, the objectives of national projects
should be carefully considered and easily assessed
and identified at the regional and local levels. The
implementation of projects in the regions often
requires active support from the federal government,
and not only financial support; this is especially true
for regions with insufficient administrative capacity.
Education in interests for Sustainable
Development (ESD) is designed to help us find
constructive and creative solutions to present and
future global challenges and to increase the resilience
and vitality of societies.
UNESCO is internationally recognized as a
leading institution in the field of ESD. It coordinates
the implementation of the Global Action Programme
on ESD, which is the official follow-up to the UN
Decade of Education in interests for Sustainable
Development (2005-2014).
In order for people to learn to lead responsible
lives and solve complex problems of global
importance, education should encourage the
development of critical thinking and qualities that
allow you to predict the course of events in the future
and make joint decisions. This requires new
approaches to learning, the development of dynamic
and eco-friendly societies and economies, and the
education of global citizenship (Education for
Sustainable Development, 2020).
The paper contains the results on the pandemic
impact on education, identified in the framework of
published reports and analytical materials of
international organizations, specialized analytical
publications, data from foreign and Russian news
agencies, as well as interviews and articles by leading
analysts and experts. The methods of the performed
Dovletmurzaeva, M., Magomadova, T. and Barzaeva, M.
Pandemic Impact on Sustainable Education.
DOI: 10.5220/0010595906850689
In Proceedings of the International Scientific and Practical Conference on Sustainable Development of Regional Infrastructure (ISSDRI 2021), pages 685-689
ISBN: 978-989-758-519-7
2021 by SCITEPRESS Science and Technology Publications, Lda. All rights reserved
research contain theoretical and empirical parts,
description methods. This research is supported by
graphical methods of illustrating the data.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed
the situation in the field of education in all countries
of the world. As in most areas of life, activity in
education was frozen for a while.
The digital revolution deployment on a global
scale is increasingly immersing us in a new reality
(Dynkin and Telegina, 2020). The variety of technical
and technological innovations that change our lives
has increased many times over the past decade, and in
a wide variety of human activity areas (Fituni and
Abramova, 2020).
But today, despite the potential risks, there is a
growing understanding that education is one of the
areas that needs to be resumed as soon as possible. At
the same time, significant financial and organizational
costs are required to ensure the safe and effective
functioning of educational organizations.
The reports note that many countries, especially
those with low-and lower-middle-income levels, are
severely short of financial resources to achieve
Sustainable Development Goal 4 ("Quality
Figure 1: Shortfall for achieving SDG 4 before COVID-19
(in million dollars USA).
*The amount of missing funds as a percentage of the total
According to the IMF forecasts, the level of
funding for education in the world, equal to the level
of funding for education in 2018, will not be reached
earlier than in six years. In 2020, the EFA World
Monitoring Report working group updated the data
used in the cost model and checked whether the
assumptions made in 2015 were accurate. For some 2
exceptions, the most important parameters, such as
teacher salary multipliers as a percentage of GDP per
person, remained unchanged and did not affect the
results of the assessment. At the same time, the
analytical calculations showed to the participants of
the 2019 High-level Political Forum showed that the
pace of implementation of the SDG 4 targets was
lower than planned. For example, the actual
percentage of students completing a secondary school
course has increased only slightly from 18% in 2015
to 20% in 2020, when it was planned to reach 46% by
that time (UNESCO, 2019).
In the period 2015-2020, even before the outbreak
of the pandemic, the combined need of low-income
and lower-middle-income countries to finance the
activities related to the achievement of SDG 4 by
2030 remained unchanged at slightly more than $ 5
trillion. At the same time, however, taking into
account the reduction in the time frame allocated for
the implementation of the specified tasks, the annual
funding requirement increased from $ 340 to $ 504
Figure 2: Early intervention, partially offsetting the
increased costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic
(US $ billion). Funding Requirements.
In general, regardless of the specific scenario in
relation to the duration of school closures and GDP
dynamics, the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated to
lead to an increase of $ 5-35 billion to the initial level
of annual funding requirements of $ 504 billion.
However, the adoption of strategic measures could
reduce this increase by $ 5-25 billion (Figure 3).
Figure 3: Taking action at an early stages, artially offsetting
the increased costs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic
(US $ billion). Funding Deficit.
ISSDRI 2021 - International Scientific and Practical Conference on Sustainable Development of Regional Infrastructure
In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic is estimated
to increase the annual funding deficit by $ 30-45
billion, with a baseline of $ 148 billion. In this case,
the adoption of strategic measures could also reduce
this increase by $ 5-25 billion. The deepening of the
funding deficit is due not only to an increase in the
need for additional funding (which, in turn, depends
on the development of the epidemiological situation,
economic trends and policy decisions), but also on the
indicators of public spending on education (that, in
the current cost calculation model, are linked to
assumptions about economic growth, tax rates and the
level of priority of education).
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an additional
increase in the costs of implementing SDG 4. This is
also due to the fact that hundreds of millions of
students have not been able to use distance learning
According to a joint study by UNESCO, UNICEF
and the World Bank, at least 463 million (or 31%)
students in low-income and lower-middle-income
countries were not enrolled in distance learning. In
this regard, measures will be required to restore
partially lost knowledge and skills. An increase in the
duration of the educational institutions closure leads
to an additional increase in the funding gap for SDG
In addition, there is a high probability that
families experiencing serious financial difficulties
may decide to stop their children's schooling. The
World Bank estimates that 6.8 million primary and
secondary school students are likely to end their
studies early. According to UNESCO, about 11
million children may not return to school.
During the COVID-19 crisis, approximately 40
per cent of the poorest countries were unable to
support at-risk students (IIEP-UNESCO, 2020), and
past experience shows that both educational
inequalities and gender inequalities tend to be ignored
when responding to disease outbreaks (United
Nations, 2020). Due to household chores and the need
to run a household or participate in agricultural work,
children, and especially girls, may not have enough
time to study. The problems of disabled children, who
were still marginalized before the outbreak, are not
always taken into account in the development of
distance learning strategies (European Commission,
Refugee and forcibly displaced children are even
more vulnerable and are denied access to support
services offered in schools, such as school nutrition
and psychosocial support programs.
Students who lack sufficient digital skills and are
least likely to have access to the hardware and
communications needed for distance learning during
school closures are the most disadvantaged. Of the 21
European countries surveyed, in half of the countries,
fourth-grade students from lower socio-economic
backgrounds were half as likely to access the Internet
as their more privileged peers (UNESCO, GEM
Report, 2020). In 7 low-income countries, less than
10 percent of the poorest households have electricity.
These include the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Kiribati,
Ivory Coast, Lesotho, Mauritania and Sudan.
Many students in developing countries, especially
primary and minority students, have poor command
of the teaching language (UNICEF, 2020). Even if
they were provided with materials that they could
understand, due to aspects such as home conditions,
economic difficulties, and parents lack of literacy
(including digital skills), many children could not rely
on the stable environment and learning support they
needed to adapt to new ways of acquiring knowledge.
In most European countries, children from the least
socially and economically prosperous families often
do not have the opportunity to spend time reading,
study in a quiet room, and enjoy parental support
when schools are closed. In both low-income and
upper-middle-income countries, children from the
poorest families receive significantly less help with
homework (Save Our Future, 2020).
Thus, in order to recover from the pandemic and
return to the implementation of SDG 4, UNESCO
recommends that Governments take additional
organizational and financial measures in 2021 to:
Restore the knowledge lost by students during
the closure of schools;
Maintaining the student-teacher ratio at an
optimal level;
Compliance with sanitary requirements,
physical distancing measures;
Education popularization, continuing
education motivation;
Distance education technologies development.
According to UNESCO, the additional costs
resulting from the closure of schools due to COVID-
19 could increase the funding deficit for SDG 4 by
almost a third. However, the immediate
implementation of programs aimed at restoring the
knowledge and skills lost by students, as well as their
return to school, could reduce the amount of
additional costs by at least 75%.
At the international level, to address the
challenges of achieving SDG 4 in the context of the
Pandemic Impact on Sustainable Education
pandemic, the Education Cannot Wait Foundation
(Education Cannot Wait) has been established to
address education in emergency situations. The
possibility of creating an International Financing
Facility for Education (International Financing
Facility for Education), that is a mechanism for
attracting loans for education through international
banks, is being discussed.
UNESCO warns of the risk that, in a crisis,
education will no longer be a priority for
Governments in their domestic and international
development policies. The pandemic has significantly
affected the economies of the donor countries. What's
more, travel restrictions and a persistent Digest.
Development outlook: Projections for 2021 and
uncertainty will hinder the implementation of
technical development assistance programmes,
despite the increased need to support the pandemic
response through distance learning mechanisms.
In this regard, the United Nations has called on
Governments to prioritize education in their financial
decisions; to find a balance between health risks and
risks in the field of education and child protection; to
increase budget allocations for education; and to
include education in the focus of international
solidarity actions.
The UN emphasizes that the crisis caused by the
pandemic can be an opportunity to rethink the
concept of education, to take a step towards creating
promising systems that provide quality education for
all, to modernize the lifelong learning concepts. It is
necessary to rely on flexible teaching methods, digital
technologies and updated curricula, while ensuring
the continued teachers support.
The main task for world leaders and the entire
educational community should be preventing the
education crisis from turning into a generational
catastrophe. This is the best way not only to protect
the rights of millions of students, but also to promote
economic progress, sustainable development and
lasting peace.
The UNESCO-led Global Coalition on Education,
which includes United Nations entities, international
organizations, private sector actors and
representatives of civil society, is currently taking
active steps to support the education response adopted
by countries in connection with COVID-1956. The
new campaign, entitled "Save Our Future", will help
expand global support for ongoing education
To mitigate the potentially devastating impact of
the COVID-19 pandemic, Governments and
stakeholders are encouraged to adopt the strategic
responses outlined below:
1. The suppression of the virus spread and careful
planning for schools reopening:
The most effective measure that countries can
take to reopen schools and other educational
institutions as soon as possible is to suppress the virus
transmission in order to contain outbreaks at the
national or local level. After that, they should be
guided by the following parameters in the difficult
task of returning to school: ensuring the safety of
everyone; planning for the schools opening in an
inclusive manner; taking into account the views of all
stakeholders; and coordinating with key subjects,
including health professionals (UNESCO, Global
Education Monitoring (GEM) Report, 2020).
2. Protecting the education funding sources and
coordinating actions to achieve the results:
The pandemic has caused the deepest global crisis
in modern history, which will have long-term
consequences for the economy and public finances.
National authorities and the international community
need to protect the education funding sources in the
following ways: better mobilization of domestic
revenue, prioritization of education spending and
addressing inefficiencies in education spending; the
international cooperation strengthening to address the
debt crisis; and protecting sources of official
development assistance (ODA) for education.
3. Building viable education systems for equitable
and sustainable development:
Improving the resilience of education systems
enables countries to address the immediate challenges
of safely reopening schools and prepares them to
better cope with future crises. In this regard,
Governments could focus on equity and inclusion;
strengthening risk management capacity at all system
levels; ensuring strong leadership and coordination;
and strengthening consultation and communication
4. Education rethinking and accelerating
transformation in teaching and learning:
The large-scale efforts made in a short time to
respond to shocks in education systems remind us that
transformation is achievable. It is necessary to use
this opportunity to find new ways to overcome the
crisis in the field of education and to develop a set of
solutions, the implementation of which was
previously considered difficult or impossible.
Efforts in this direction should focus on the
following starting points: addressing the loss of
knowledge and preventing drop-out, especially
among marginalized groups; developing skills
through employment opportunity programmes;
supporting the teaching profession and ensuring
teacher readiness; expanding the definition of the
ISSDRI 2021 - International Scientific and Practical Conference on Sustainable Development of Regional Infrastructure
right to education by including the right to e-access;
removing barriers to e-access; improving the quality
of data and monitoring tools in education; increase
the coherence and flexibility level with respect to the
different levels and types of learning and training.
The shock that the education system has experienced
because of COVID-19 is unprecedented. It has
reversed the achievement of international education
goals and disproportionately affected less prosperous
and more vulnerable population groups.
Nevertheless, the educational community has
demonstrated its resilience and laid the foundation for
further recovery.
There is still a risk of the situation deterioration, a
downward movement, accompanied by loss of
knowledge and isolation. However, each danger of
worsening socioeconomic circumstances is an
occasion to think about the opposite, i.e. about how to
change the situation for the better and build in the
future an education system that meets all our
requirements: to carry out an all-encompassing
transformation in teaching and to realize the potential
of each individual and the whole society in all spheres
of life through investment in education.
In pursuing the restoring basic educational
services goal and reviving its primary purpose,
humanity can count on unlimited motivation and
unexploited potential. Governments and the
international community have a responsibility to
remain committed to the principles and to implement
the necessary reforms, not only to enable children and
young people to look forward to the future they have
been promised, but also to ensure that all education
workers contribute to this goal.
Dynkin, A. and Telegina, E. (2020). Pandemic shock and
the post-crisis world. World Economy and International
Relations, 64 (8): 5-16.
Education for Sustainable Development / Retrieved from
Fituni, L. and Abramova, I. (2020). Developing countries
in the political economy of the post-coronavirus world.
World Economy and International Relations, 64 (9): 5-
Recommendations from the United Nations and other
education partners. UNESCO, Global Education
Monitoring (GEM) Report, 2020: Inclusion and
education: all means all, 2020, available at
IIEP-UNESCO, “COVID-19 school closures: Why girls are
more at risk”, available at covid-19-school-
United Nations, “Policy Brief: The impact of COVID-19 on
children”, available at
European Commission, “Educational inequalities in Europe
and physical school closures during COVID-19”,
available at
UNESCO, GEM Report, 2020.
UNICEF, “How involved are parents in their children’s
learning? MICS6 data reveal critical insights”,
available at evidence-for-
Save Our Future. Global movement of diverse voices
uniting to amplify the voices of children and young
people as they deliver a simple, yet powerful message
amidst the COVID-19 crisis: #SaveOurFuture.
Pandemic Impact on Sustainable Education