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‘COVID-19 and Massive Switch to Online Learning: Evidence from China,’ a session of the World Bank / HSE University webinar series

Event ended

‘Education under COVID-19: Problems, Solutions, Perspectives, Research’
webinar series by the World Bank 
and HSE University Russia

COVID-19 and Massive Switch to Online Learning:
Evidence from China

Online| June 26, 2020 | 7:309:00am | Washington, DC Time

2:304:00pm | Moscow Time


Join us on

Meeting ID: 160 603 9058; password: Zx3KNWbXP78

or YouTube


Language: English


YANG Po, Associate Professor, Graduate School of Education, Peking University


Harry Patrinos, Practice Manager, Education Global Practice, the World Bank

WANG Rong, Director, China Institute for Educational Finance Research, Peking University


Daria Platonova, Head of the Laboratory for University Development, Institute of Education, Higher School of Economics University Russia


The outbreak of COVID-19 interrupts the supply of formal schooling in more than 180 countries. While the school closures generate huge learning losses and substantial projected future earnings losses, many nations turn to distance education as alternative. Based on a national school-level panel dataset from Jan 2019 to April 2020 collected by one leading online education provider in China, the study utilizes the generalized difference-in-difference model and the event study method to identify the impacts of the pandemic on Chinese K-12 students and teachers’ adoption of online learning. The study shows significant jumps in school-level active student and teacher users after the COVID-19 outbreak. Among 360 prefecture cities, those with high Digital China Index have significantly more active users; cities with lower per capital GDP experience higher user growth; and cities in middle regions including Hubei province have a significantly higher user growth than their counterparts in eastern and western regions.


About the Presenter:



Dr. YANG Po is an associate professor at the Graduate School of Education, Peking University, and a research fellow at China Institute of Education Finance Research, Peking University. She is the vice president of China Association of Education Finance Research and also serves as a consultant for the World Bank and Asian Development Bank. Her main research areas are economics of education, education finance, and vocational and technical education. She has published in peer reviewed SSCI journals and received research grants from China’s National Science Foundation, ADB, CDRF, and Ford Foundation. 


About the webinar series:

The webinar series, Education under COVID-19: Problems, Solutions, Perspectives, Research provides a venue for practitioners, policy makers, and researchers to discuss and search for evidence-based responses to the major challenges education faces at the global, regional, and national levels in the context of the pandemic. These challenges primarily relate to economics of education (for instance, estimation of losses in terms of human capital and financing) and sociology of education (how does the institutional landscape changes with the new players entering the field? What could the consequences of COVID-19 be for social mobility and inequality, especially for the underprivileged?). Other disciplines involved may be political science, pedagogy, and psychology.

Distinctive features of this initiative are:

  • Concrete topic for each webinar, connected with some practical issue or problem of global importance, but as precise as possible.
  • Evidence-based nature of presented materials: each webinar offers novel empirical data, most often quantitative, analyzed through the particular theoretical lenses.
  • Leading international experts connected with representatives at the regional level. Voices from different parts of the globe will be connected with global picture and statistical trends.

We invite experts to share results of research, ideas, and practices about how education systems can respond to various challenges stemming from the COVID-2019 crisis. While addressing different topics, all webinars include a discussion on implications for policy makers and practitioners.

All webinars are held in English. Instructions on how to attend a WebEx webinar. For questions about the webinar, please contact Anna Polyanskaya (

If you would like to propose a topic or speaker, please email Pavel Sorokin ( and Tigran Shmis (

Check out videos of our past webinars on YouTube 

Education Global Practice Webpage

The Education GP BBL Series provides a space for World Bank education staff and visiting researchers and speakers to share recent findings, innovative on-the ground experience, and implementation challenges and successes relevant to the work of the Bank in education.