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Research on the Potential Relationship Between Educational Inequality and Income Inequality in Developing Countries Under COVID-19



Two caveats, which were discussed in more detail earlier in this chapter (section on research methodology), were imposed in order to make sense of the findings: First and foremost, it should be noted that the results represent a more optimistic estimate than is likely to be true in the majority of developing countries outside of the case study jurisdictions. In other terms, the obstacles experienced by most nations in the countries analyzed when under lockdown are likely to be more onerous than the challenges mentioned here. Second, data should be triangulated to the greatest extent feasible to investigate the likelihood of socially acceptable replies (the ‘correct answer’) taking precedence over actual outcomes.

Demographics of Respondents

A total of 213 instructors from ten different nations participated in the study (Table 1). Whereas the sample included a considerable number of participants from each of the selected case study nations, the statistics for the majority of the other nationalities were in the hundreds rather than thousands. As a result, apart from the case study nations, the data gave little meaningful information about procedures in the other countries. Furthermore, it was evident that the teachers who were selected within those nations were not typical of the instructors in those countries’ general populations.

Table 1: Respondents who completed the survey

S.N. County Number of respondents Percentage
1 Ghana 22 10.3%
2 Cameroon 1 0.5%
3 Guyana 3 1.4%
4 Namibia 15 7.0%
5 Jamaica 1 0.5%
6 Kenya 48 22.5%
7 South Africa 60 28.2%
8 Nigeria 58 27.2%
9 Zambia 4 1.9%
10 Uganda 1 0.5%
Grand Total 213 100%

However, just 3% of South African respondents worked at schools that did not charge tuition, although at least 60 percent of the country’s institutions do not charge tuition. As a result, although the majority of teachers selected from South Africa worked in government schools (87 percent), they were a rather affluent group: virtually all (97 percent) taught in institutions that paid fees and were mostly located in metropolitan areas (60 percent). Additionally, the samples from Nigeria and Kenya did not reflect their respective nations, as seen by the large faculty members employed in private or foreign schools, which stood at 41 percent and 38 percent.

Table 2: Types of schools in which teachers in the sample worked

Type of School Nigeria Kenya South Africa Other Grand Total
No. % No. % No. % No. %
Private/interactions 24 41% 27 56% 2 3% 2 4% 55
No school Fee 0 0% 0 0% 2 3% 0 0% 2
Public 27 47% 13 27% 52 87% 44 94% 136
Lower Fee/Semi-Private 1 2% 3 6% 4 7% 0 0% 8
NGO/Mission/NPO 6 10% 5 10% 0 0% 1 2% 12
Grand Total 58 100% 48 100% 60 100% 47 100% 213

Participants in all three focus nations were relatively young, with the average age in South Africa being 42 years old, 39 years in Nigeria, and 33 years old in Kenya. On the other hand, the female representation varied significantly across the nations, with females prevailing only in South Africa (78 percent) versus 44 percent in Nigeria, 44 % in Kenya, and 35 % in the rest of the countries. Primary (46 percent) and secondary (51 percent) school teachers made up the majority of the sample, with only a few continuing to work in early childhood development (3 percent). Moreover, half (57 percent) of all respondents had graduate degrees, only with Kenya (38 percent) falling substantially short of the national average of 57 percent.

Teaching and Learning during and before COVID-19

learning institutions were closed with short notice in most nations, leaving little time for preparation, resource endowments, and preparation of instructors, students, and parents for the shutdown that was about to begin. In other cases, schools were shuttered without warning. Instructor replies corroborated these findings to questions on the availability of offline or online electronic resources, official documents, and communication channels in the survey.

Table 3: Preparations made for lockdown

Type of School Nigeria Kenya South Africa Other Grand Total
No. % No. % No. % No. % No. %
Instructors were not given sufficient materials to support their usage of online instruction such as laptops, data, tablets, access to platforms. 7 12% 8 17% 7 12% 5 11% 27 13%
Instructional tools such as recording devices and access to platforms were not made available to teachers in sufficient quantities to use offline teaching. 12 21% 15 31% 10 17% 5 11% 42 20%
Students’ printed materials, such as worksheets and workbooks, were not made available to teachers prior to school closures. 22 38% 27 56% 17 28% 6 13% 72 34%
During the lockdown, efficient communication between instructors and students was limited. 16 28% 19 40% 19 32% 11 23% 65 31%
There was no communication system in place between the administration and the instructors. 27 47% 28 58% 37 62% 30 64% 122 57%
There was no communication system established between instructors and parents or students. 24 41% 31 65% 26 43% 20 43% 101 47%

Instructors in most schools had expected the government to provide electronic information resources for the sustainability of distance learning, and most teachers shared this assumption. This was implausible and will continue to be so for the conceivable future. The fact that just one-third of instructors questioned had printed materials to deliver to students was a source of significant worry. A worrying finding was that less than half of the educators who responded to the poll stated their schools had processes for interacting with students’ and teachers’ parents.

When asked if teaching was taking place when the school was closed, more than two-thirds of the respondents said it was. Table 4

Table 4: Instructional activities during the lockdown

Engaged in instructional activities during the lockdown Nigeria Kenya South Africa Other Grand Total
No. % No. % No. % No. % No. %
No 28 48% 21 44% 13 22% 6 13% 68 32%
Yes 30 52% 27 56% 47 78% 41 87% 145 68%

Fortunately, there was one occasion in which the statistics could be reconfigured against both rational thinking and other knowledge that was readily accessible, in conducted to evaluate for the impacts of the sample’s eccentricities and the availability of “socially acceptable” responses. Considering the South African results, which revealed that 78 percent of instructors remained in the classroom throughout the lockdown, they seem to be too high. While this may be due to a testing effect, given that three of the six South African schools in the sample served well-resourced middle-class societies, and the fifth South African school, which served very poor children, was the only one of ten schools that retained quality teaching for poor children during the lockdown, this may be due to a causal effect.

Alternatively, it is possible that this was due to differing perceptions of what constituted “teaching under lockdown” in the first place. For instance, in one of the South African secondary schools, the superintendent claimed that teaching took place, but closer inspection divulged that it took place primarily for performance measures; Grades 8 and 9 obtained tutoring on work and completed in worksheets for the majority of the shutdown, while Grades 10 and 11 earned almost no assistance since they did not even have worksheets during the majority of the shutdown period. Conversely, they were led to television classes offered via online conversations.

The interpretation that three out of four South African schools did serve well-resourced societies must also be qualified, with the caveat that while the academic institutions taken by individuals may have been well-resourced, the communities they served represented a diverse range of socioeconomic groups, some of which were extremely poor and disadvantaged. There is a very good chance that children in these locations will not have access to digital learning technologies.

Additionally, the figures in Table 5 called for another reflection: an average of 18 hours per week devoted to instructing seems to be rather low in a 25–30-hour class week. In any case, Table 5 reveals that the average amount of time instructors spent instructing during the shutdown was less than half of their typical activity.

Table 5: Pre- and post-lockdown instructional time

Pre- and post-lockdown instructional time Nigeria Kenya South Africa Other Grand Total
Pre-Lockdown 14 22 16 21 73
post-During 4 7 9 16 36

The statistics gathered from the case studies reinforce the impression that less instruction happened during lockdown than is stated in Table 5. For instance, in a sample of two elementary schools and one middle school in Nigeria’s South Central and South regions, all ten respondents contacted in 5 different interviews at three high schools stated that their classes were canceled throughout the shutdown.


According to the administrators and instructors who participated in these interviews, the absence of online instruction was because they did not have the technological means (hardware, connection, data, and expertise) to deliver online instruction. Several of the respondents said that the current regime should have accepted responsibility for the issue after the interviews. Admittedly, all through the five surveys done in one high school and selected secondary schools in Nigeria, the current administration was repeatedly held responsible for a variety of issues, including the impossibility of schools to provide learning experience while on shutdown, as well as a lack of policy manner and allocation of resources.

The response, as mentioned earlier, illustrates a significant feeling of inactivity on the side of instructors and institutions and their complete reliance on the authorities for any action or strategy. Is it not absurd that institutions should be required to get a governmental directive to conduct any instructional program throughout a lockdown, even if that program is limited to the distribution of printed materials and recommendations to students and parents? Many instructors, on the other hand, were irritated how they had heard the announcement of the shutdown on media at the very same time as their students, and that there was a sense of dissatisfaction that they had not got enough time to bring a plan in place before the shutdown began.

Is there any method of contact between schools and kids and their parents when school is not in session? This is an important subject to consider under normal circumstances. To give some examples, one respondent stated that the school tried to communicate collaboratively with learners, but that this information sharing was not very straightforward, consisting primarily of passing messages to them via the society head; dialogue with family members was only every once in a while conducted directly with the institution. The establishment and maintenance of efficient communication systems with parents, including frequently written announcements, mobile group chats, and the like, should be prioritized for every institution.

Table 6: Instruction mode during lockdown

Nigeria Kenya South Africa Other Grand Total
No. % No. % No. % No. % No. %
An online platform such as Zoom or Google Meet 17 29% 33 69% 7 12% 10 25% 67 31%
Offline platform 5 9% 2 4% 12 20% 11 28% 30 14%
School communication platforms such as  Moodle, Blackboard, and WhatsApp chat groups 16 28% 11 23% 25 42% 13 33% 65 31%
Various face-to-face options such as home visits and platooning 9 16% 1 2% 23 38% 20 50% 53 25%
0ther 3 5% 1 2% 2 3% 1 3% 7 3%

According to the findings, institutions that we can overcome this sense of powerlessness and get on with the business of education were, with one exception, well-resourced institutions, including public and private, that served a majority of middle-class households. In most cases, these were the schools that used cutting-edge methods of instruction during the shutdown.

Technology Employed

The following results are obtained on teacher views and expectations towards technology in a minority of schools within the sample, and they pertained to a minority of those schools. It was commonly agreed that the schools where the participants taught were under-resourced in terms of both printed and electronic resources. South Africa was a bit of an outlier when it came to the availability of printed materials, albeit given that everything but several of the South African institutions in the case study collected fees, it was difficult to attribute much of this variation to the country’s unique situation.

Table 7: Resources in learning institutions pre-and during lockdown

Nigeria Kenya South Africa Other Grand Total
Pre- During Pre- During Pre- During Pre- During Pre- During
ICT resources 24 21 29 23 15 18 31 34 25 19
Digital Classroom 10 26 2 29 5 7 6 13 6 13
Printed Resources 16 2 72 59 39

Even though print materials are still the most extensively utilized and dependable learning resources across the globe, Table 7 shows that they are not generally accessible in the schools where the survey participants teach or work. Although this issue predated the epidemic, it was still there after the lockdown was broken, prompting learners and instructors to return to it.

In this regard, the South African institution that offered Grade 8 and 9 students workbooks to complete at home created a precedent that may be followed successfully by other institutions serving the poor in the future, should such institutions be given printed materials. The learning institutions made certain that students took their reading material home with them at the start of the shutdown, which made it much easier for instructors to support the students by sending voice notes and texts, and emails to their cellphones to provide regular instructions regarding their use without consuming excessive amounts of data. The utilization of the worksheets for these years, in particular, demonstrated a significant gap in assistance for students from Grades 10 through 11 at this specific school.

When electronic information resources were not accessible to all students at private schools, this method was also employed in such establishments. One of the institutions in the South African study case, for instance, had created and published paper-based resources packs to be used in the classroom. The resources packs contained lessons, workbooks, and other adequate information for 4–8 weeks of instruction time. The packets, which were offered in various courses, were collected by students. Because of the way the packs were designed, learners could complete the exercises on the workbooks on their own, avoiding the requirement to send documents over WhatsApp. Participants were also provided with a blank notepad, some accessories, and paper-based bundles. It was possible to arrange parents who often lacked the necessary data to browse applications or transfer files material and those who could not get access to publishing amenities in most cases.

Findings and Discussion

Because of the limited duration of this investigation and the communication and travel constraints due to the nature of the research question, a convenience sample approach and an exploratory design were used in conjunction with the study. Because of the unique character of the resultant sample, the research was unable to make any broad generalizations about particular nations or regions. As an alternative, it details strategies that some instructors and institutions in three sub-Saharan nations have implemented in reaction to the global closure of educational institutions.

Exploratory research does not provide generalizable conclusions but instead identifies topics that need to be investigated further. It leads to the generation of hypotheses. When combined with previous studies on learning conducted under the COVID-19 program, the study’s findings above supported at least three hypotheses that necessitated educational inequality, including financial inequality and the allocation of financial resources.

The majority of nations globally had either partly reverted to face-to-face education or were engaged in heated debates over when and how best to do so at the time of this writing. Therefore, it was perhaps too late to offer suggestions to enhance education when the country was under lockdown in reaction to the epidemic to a certain degree. This became true that education was going to be restricted for a few more months, and most institutions might benefit from guidance on maximizing learning opportunities for students. However, the most important lessons from the outbreak would lead to enhanced teaching for low-income students in all circumstances, including regular emergencies.

Education Inequality and the question of Income inequality

The most notable characteristic of the sample of 10 schools was not a novel theory. However, a question comes from a very powerful hypothesis that has been validated several times by many studies: education reproduces class divisions in society under the majority of circumstances. Because of this, the most pressing topic is how institutions can change the status quo and give high-quality opportunities for education to low-income students.

During the pandemic-induced lockdown, the overwhelming majority of something like the ten schools that were researched in depth reacted passively by delivering little or no instruction to their students for three months or longer. When asked about the government’s failure to provide clearer guidance or adequate funding to institutions to conduct remote teaching, most participants in all three nations expressed disappointment. Unrealistic expectations were common among those who responded. For instance, many think the state should provide gear and training to allow schools to communicate technologically with parents. Meanwhile, many schools offered little or no educational opportunities for their students as they awaited official instruction.

Whenever virtual teaching did take place, it was conducted out by institutions that served middle-class households, with one exception. It was made possible in this setting by technologically adept professors and access to electronic devices, software, and unrestricted access. Although virtual teaching is permitted in some schools, it restricts crucial teaching programs, notably in the areas of evaluation and full student engagement, in these institutions.

As may have been foreseen, during the lockdown, inequities between schools that existed before the epidemic was increased even more. Children of parents who could either afford to cover for their children’s future were willing to proceed with their education, while children of impoverished families were forced to stay at home and atrophy. The one institution in the study that continued to give educational help to its students served as a significant outlier. The operations of this institution seem to provide a solution to the issue of how schools can continue to provide great education to students from the most impoverished backgrounds.

The beginning point is precise the school environment, including school administration, teachers, rulers, and family members, concluded that the current regime was not having appropriate leadership and chose to take personal accountability for developing the educational development of participants themselves. How this specific institutional culture, which is characterized by a strong sense of obligation, a deep sense of teamwork, the prioritization of education and learning, as well as the practice of action plan in getting resources and experiences to learners, developed in the institution, whether as a result of chance or as a deliberate effort on the part of the school’s governors and managers, is a critical question. Additionally, there are issues about how an organization’s culture is prevalent across the system, which deserve additional investigation.

No matter where it originated or how widespread it was, the culture seen at this school was manifested in two primary forms of activity: communications with students, parents, and other stakeholders and the utilization of resources.

Resources Allocations

It was evident that education equality was confronted with a slew of issues well before the implementation of COVID-19. There has been a scarcity of instructors in the education system, more so in the lower class of living, and a rise in the number of teachers who are not competent to do their jobs. Additional issues included insufficient salary in many nations, excessive teacher-to-student ratios, and insufficient teacher training programs for the economically disadvantaged. All of these reasons had combined to create the issue of de-professionalization of the education system, which continues today. Concerning learning results, poverty has a detrimental influence on learning effects since most children who leave school lack the fundamental abilities of reading, writing, and arithmetic, among other things. Wars, environmental catastrophes, and other catastrophes all have the potential to increase the number of children who are absent from school, consequently negatively impacting their educational attainment.

Respondents expressed a strong desire for administrations to provide the necessary hardware and software and the necessary connection and training to ensure that remote learning continues to be successful. Even though the government has a primary duty to provide a reliable electricity supply, that was an unreasonable expectation in nations were maintaining a reliable power supply is a major challenge.

In all three focus nations, instructional content and messages were aired on television and radio, with the governments instituting or expanding the use of these mediums. In addition, it was not obvious to what extent they were utilized by learners or to what extent they were represented as a structured instructional program. The fact that many students were unable to watch the broadcasts because their houses lacked the appropriate equipment was brought to the attention of several instructors.

Zaraki Learning is a new wireless app that provides video lectures and assessment exams throughout the curriculum when it comes to education in Kenya. Although this seems to be a promising project, the accessibility, usability, and usefulness of such technologies must be properly examined in real-world settings before money, energy, and expectations are invested in its implementation.

Textual data are the most apparent tools to use in order to keep learners constructively occupied throughout class time. However, they were not generally accessible in two of the given case nations, Kenya and Nigeria, according to the available information. South Africa was a bit of an outlier in this respect, with one particular school making better use of the shutdown by ensuring that learners took their books back to the house prior to the shutdown and would use them to engage in structured instructional strategies after they returned from school.

Communication between the school and learners Parents

A range of technologies, including email, Zoom, and Google Classroom, was used by fee-paying schools to continue distance teaching and connect with students and parents in order to do this. However, although some respondents working in low-performing schools reported being in touch with the parents of their students, the explanations they provided did not convince them that there was a systematic connection between families and schools.

Teachers at the sampled school who continued to provide instruction did not have access to internet-based modes of communication in large part because of budget constraints. On the other hand, cellphone usage was prevalent, even among the most impoverished regions serviced by the school. Teachers often communicate with students and parents on various issues through this technology, including health and safety recommendations, ways wherein parents may help their children, and specifics about educational activities.

It is probable that for all three nations that submitted scholarly articles, the vast large number of students went for 4 to 6 months without receiving any contact from their institutions. This is a problem that needs to be looked at in more depth. Because most academic institutions do not preserve constant interaction with their learners’ homes, the existence of such channels can only have an advantageous influence on learning once provisions have returned to normal. It will also allow some form of education to proceed should pandemic circumstances or other emergencies recur.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Many researchers have performed appropriate research on the topics of education and wealth imbalance, as shown by the study funding listed above. In recent years, it has been recognized that inequality is a prevalent problem that impacts individuals all across the globe. The findings of the studies, as mentioned earlier, are important to our inquiry since they provide insight into the subject. Furthermore, according to several studies, inequality in terms of income and education has been a source of worry for many decades. The extent of the study materials evaluated, on the other hand, is limited since the majority of the studies do not go into depth into the issue of covid 19. The researchers’ relevant resources are constrained to certain locations, and as a consequence, they are unable to give the whole spectrum of data promptly throughout the globe. As a result, it would be necessary to conduct a more in-depth yet more concentrated investigation of covid 19, emphasizing developing nations.

Humans’ ability to relearn and “adapt to uncertainty,” according to Bauman (2001), is an essential lesson for them in post-modernism (p. 125). However, this study shows that inequality, apart from the interruptions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, is likely a robust and efficient danger to education globally. It has a variety of origins, and the ramifications of these causes are varied and widespread. It has been defined as an unfair circumstance in societies when fewer people are exposed to greater chances than the majority. Unequal distribution of wealth and opportunity is a huge issue in many parts of human existence, and it may be regarded as a worldwide disaster on par with the epidemic caused by Covid 19. In addition, the trial continues to pose a huge danger to the education industry, resulting in increased possibilities for some while diminishing options for many other people. The origin of the virus, how it spread to become a worldwide pandemic, and the effect of the epidemic on the lives of individuals and various countries have all been investigated by many academics.

This paper aimed to investigate the possibility of a link between academic and poverty disparity. In order to supplement the study, the research report also looked back at previous records. The general goal of the study dissertation was to look into the effects of COVID 19 on the education industry as well as on the total revenue. According to the findings of the literature study, many scholars have conducted adequate research on the issues linked with education and wealth disparity. It has been discovered that inequalities are a widespread issue that affects people worldwide. Considering that they give insight into the topic, the studies are important to this research. Furthermore, according to many research findings, inequalities in income and education have been an underlying concern for many decades now.

Many academics believe that the virus was a doomsday agent, causing the income and employment disparity to widen in ways that had never been seen before in history, particularly in the area of employment (Marmot et al., 2021; Mizota and Darity Jr, 2020; Neal and McCargo, 2020). Considering how delicate the subject is, it was necessary to perform the research to establish the relationship between educational and economic disparity and define the measurement that can be used internationally to attain educational fairness. However, the study evaluation is restricted since the bulk of the publications examined do not address this particular component of covid 19 in any detail. Furthermore, the necessary resources of the investigators are restricted to certain places, and as a result, they are unable to deliver the entire breadth of data on an international scale. Because of this, it would be important to do a more thorough but more focused study on covid 19 with a particular emphasis on developing countries.

The assessment examined how the learning institution’s workforce responded to a changed curriculum design offered online over a longer period, up to several months, with or without the reinstatement of face-to-face learning opportunities. It may make it possible for teaching establishments to co-teach classes with more experienced faculty, promoting mentoring. Because of the flexible structure of online courses, the authors of this article conclude that off-site teaching of the material may result in a shift in curriculum implementation that warrants further investigation. Teachers may face difficulties developing these learning resources, some of which may be quite innovative and inventive. It is worthwhile to investigate if the desired outcomes are attained after introducing these adjustments to course delivery. In this case, this paper concludes that a systematic strategy to assess these academic activities during and after the epidemic is required, according to the findings of this work.

Moreover, it is necessary to evaluate the educational results that may be accomplished via online education. Proof on the practicalities, advantages, drawbacks and adjustable drivers of impact on the income inequalities and educational inequalities of the many sorts of activities launched in online learning and whether or not they function is required to determine their effectiveness. After the epidemic has ended, and if they are judged to be beneficial by students and instructors, most of these may be explored for inclusion into classes in the foreseeable future, rather than being restricted to the present scenario of involuntary online classes.

Additional knowledge from several of the study nations’ highest-income classes provides strong evidence that the pandemic resulted in learning deficits and increases in wealth disparity (Di Pietro et al., 2020; Haelermans et al., 2022; Engle et al., 2011). Among the recommendations made in this paper are that lower-class income classes and other less-affluent lower-middle-income classes, which are highly probable to be even harder hit, implement learning rehabilitation programs, protect instructional budgets, and better prepare themselves for future shocks by re-building their infrastructure.

While the broad and varied sample of students in this research is a strength, so too is the use of a methodology for identifying variables to investigate in further depth and the quantitative and qualitative research design, which will allow for the identification of both actual and relative ideas.


Bauman, Z., 2001. The individualized society. Cambridge, UK; Malden, MA: Polity.

Di Pietro, G., Biagi, F., Costa, P., Karpiński, Z. and Mazza, J., 2020. The likely impact of COVID-19 on education: Reflections based on the existing literature and recent international datasets (Vol. 30275). Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

Engle, P.L., Fernald, L.C., Alderman, H., Behrman, J., O’Gara, C., Yousafzai, A., De Mello, M.C., Hidrobo, M., Ulkuer, N., Ertem, I. and Iltus, S., 2011. Strategies for reducing inequalities and improving developmental outcomes for young children in low-income and middle-income countries. The Lancet378(9799), pp.1339-1353.

Haelermans, C., Korthals, R., Jacobs, M., de Leeuw, S., Vermeulen, S., van Vugt, L., Aarts, B., Prokic-Breuer, T., van der Velden, R., van Wetten, S. and de Wolf, I., 2022. Sharp increase in inequality in education in times of the COVID-19-pandemic. Plos one17(2), p.e0261114.

Marmot, M., Allen, J., Goldblatt, P., Herd, E. and Morrison, J., 2021. Build back fairer: the COVID-19 Marmot review the pandemic, socioeconomic and health inequalities in England.

Mizota, M. and Darity Jr, W.A., 2020. Coronavirus and racial wealth inequality: how will the COVID-19 pandemic and recession affect the racial wealth gap in the United States.

Neal, M. and McCargo, A., 2020. How economic crises and sudden disasters increase racial disparities in homeownership. Urban Institute30.


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