IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Three countries’ views on remote learning during lockdown revealed

14 September 2020

Teachers, students, and parents across Jordan, Lebanon and Palestine all agreed that the quality of teaching and learning deteriorated during the distance education period imposed by the lockdown.

Woman's hands typing on a laptop

The findings come from a report written by UCL Institute of Education (IOE) Research Associate Dr Mai Abu Moghli and Dr Maha Shuayb, Director of the Centre for Lebanese Studies, a research centre in Lebanon and partner of the RELIEF Centre, that aims to support communities affected by mass displacement.

The study found that well adapted school-designed distance learning programs did have a positive impact on students’ perception of the quality of education they were receiving. However. this was largely attributed to those attending private schools. Students in public and non-formal schools reported much lower satisfaction levels.

The researchers found that Jordan appeared to be the country most prepared for distance learning due to a pre-existing online platform which the Ministry of Education developed prior to COVID-19 crisis.

In Lebanon, refugee children who were enrolled in afternoon public schools’ shifts were not included in the distance learning plans and thus lost access to schooling.  Distance learning was also obstructed by well-known and longstanding structural barriers such as long hours of power cuts in Lebanon and Palestine and slow internet.

The research team found that across the three countries, the majority of teachers worked longer hours without adequate financial compensation. Most suffered salary cuts, and others were asked to take unpaid leave, particularly those in the private sector.

Students with special needs and male students were the two groups who according to teachers suffered the most in terms of exclusion or dropping out from distance learning provisions. Male students were often forced to drop out and join the labour market due to difficult economic conditions. Students with special needs were largely excluded or marginalised due to inaccessibility or unsuitability of provisions for their needs.

Dr Mai Abu Moghli said: “Unless teachers, students and parents are included in strategies and policies devised for distance or blended education models as a response to COVID-19 pandemic, the quality of education will suffer and the real needs of the teachers and learners will be side-lined, particularly those from marginalised contexts.”