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Social inequality during COVID-19 pandemic

Varvara Rakhmanina

Abstract: The topic of inequality in education has already been a major issue in many countries for a long time. However, in 2020 it has shown itself differently because of the COVID-19 pandemic, due to which the whole world was compelled to switch to distance learning. This form of education, previously unfamiliar to many educational institutions and even the whole countries, became a great challenge for both students and school teachers or university lecturers. It required an ability to study with limited assistance from the former ones, good skills of using digital platforms and resources from the latter ones, and availability of technical devices with the Internet connection from both parties. These complications have significantly enhanced the already existing inequality in access to educational resources.Even though no statistical conclusions regarding the influence of the COVID-19 pandemic on academic performance have been made yet, it has already been confirmed that the percentage of senior year school students who postponed their graduation has increased in 2020 in comparison to 2019. And so has the percentage of school graduates who did not appear at entrance examinations despite registering, primarily from rural areas. The academic performance is expected to be worse too, and the difference in grades between students of different socioeconomic backgrounds is highly likely to increase.This paper is an attempt to generalize the challenges which the world education community had to face during the last year and to highlight the main factors of educational inequality in the circumstances of pandemics. It also considers the possible ways of eliminating unequal access to education on the example of particular countries.
Keywords: pandemic / graduation / educational inequality / COVID / academic performance / world / countries / differently

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