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Past Event

Webinar: Education and structural inequalities during COVID-19—How do Finland and the US compare?

Past Event

COVID-19 has laid bare the structural inequalities in many countries, especially in education. Education is perhaps one of the main mechanisms for societies to reduce inequality and for individuals to live healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives.

Around the world, the impact of school closures on student learning will vary by socioeconomic status and the extent to which schools can provide quality education remotely. While Finland and the United States are on their face both wealthy nations, they have different levels of structural inequality and have historically approached educational opportunity with distinct policy lenses. Given the contrasts, it is not surprising that they made different decisions regarding school closures and reopening in light of COVID-19.

On June 25, the Center for Universal Education hosted a webinar to contrast the Finnish and U.S. approaches to providing quality education for learners of all races, backgrounds, and income levels before and during the pandemic. Emiliana Vegas, senior fellow and co-director of the Center for Universal Education, moderated a conversation between Li Andersson, minister of education of Finland, and John B. King, CEO of Education Trust and former U.S. Secretary of Education, on how differences in policies to ensure educational opportunity between the two countries may affect structural inequality.

Viewers submitted questions via email to or via Twitter with #COVIDReopening.


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