When COVID-19 emerged as a global threat in early 2020, the economic consequences of necessary lockdown measures were an early concern.

That was closely followed by concerns about the impact of school closures. It wasn't just because of the toll on parents working from home with young children. Parents, educators, and policymakers alike recognized that education plays a vital role in the social development and economic potential of the next generation.

Here we are one year later, and the pandemic persists. In 2020 developing Asia contracted but the ADB projects that the region will bounce back with 7.3% growth this year.

In nearly half of the region's countries, schools have been closed for over 200 days. Only a handful of countries managed to keep schools open continuously. Schools across the region are using remote instruction, but many students have limited or no access to important remote learning tools like computers and the internet. This has limited their ability to learn from home and resulted in significant learning losses.

A version of this article appears in the print on May 25, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.