Coronavirus impact on education: The coronavirus pandemic’s impact on the education system has been drastic and it has been highly visible. The World Bank has now estimated the economic impact of school closure in South Asia. It says that the long-term economic impact of the learning loss due to the pandemic would be $622 billion in the current scenario, and this would largely be driven by India, where the loss would be of over $400 billion. In a pessimistic scenario, this regional loss can go as high as $880 billion. However, that is not the only troublesome part.
In its report, ‘Beaten or Broken? Informality and COVID-19’, which was accessed by Financial Express Online, the World Bank stated that in the South Asian region, as many as 391 million students in primary and secondary education have been forced to stay out of school due to temporary school closures. What is worse is the fact that the World Bank has estimated that as many as 55 lakh students in the region might have to drop out from the education system due to the pandemic.
Due to the temporary closure of schools, which has lasted for over six months now, the efforts towards the resolution of the learning crisis in the South Asian region have been further complicated, the World Bank said. Moreover, while governments have encouraged remote learning, such initiatives have had a difficult time engaging students.
The World Bank expressed concerns that such a scenario is leading to substantial loss of learning, translating into a lifetime impact on the productivity of the generation of students. It added that being out of school for such a long time means that the students have stopped learning new things and have also forgotten some of what they had learned earlier. It quantified this projected learning loss to be 0.5 years for the region, which it believes is an enormous setback for the countries already dealing with a learning crisis.
The quantified term is called Learning-Adjusted Year of Schooling or LAYS, which is a concept introduced by the World Bank for combining access as well as learning outcomes into a single measuring standard. This method combines the quantity or the years of schooling with the quality or the level of knowledge kids have at a given grade.
The report has put forth a worrisome picture of the education sector and the impact the pandemic has had on the students. It has also estimated how this impact could have serious long-term repercussions, something that the governments in the region would have to ponder upon to mitigate any loss to whatever extent possible.