Intersecting Barriers to Adolescents’ Educational Access During COVID-19: Exploring the Role of Gender, Disability and Poverty

The article explores the social determinants of adolescents’ access to education during the COVID-19 pandemic in three diverse urban contexts in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Jordan. It provides novel empirical data from the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence longitudinal study, drawing on phone surveys (4441), qualitative interviews with adolescents aged 12–19 years (500), and key informant interviews conducted between April and October 2020. Findings highlight that the pandemic is compounding pre-existing vulnerabilities to educational disadvantage, and that gender, poverty and disability are intersecting to deepen social inequalities. Gender differentials in access to distance education are surprisingly uneven across contexts. Disadvantages exist for girls in Bangladesh and Ethiopia, while the reverse is true in Jordan. Adolescents with disabilities face greater barriers to all forms of distance education. The article also finds that measures to tackle social inequalities are critical to prevent entrenching prior disadvantages. The paper concludes by reflecting on policy implications for inclusive distance education in emergencies.

Authors: Jones, Nicola; Tapia, Ingrid Sanchez; Baird, Sarah; Guglielmi, Silvia; Oakley, Erin; Yadete, Workneh Abebe; Sultan, Maheen; Pincock, Kate
Type: Journal Article
Year: 2021