IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

School closure may cost India dear

12th October, 2020 Education
  • Context: Poor productivity will cause a major dent in future earnings: the World Bank South Asia report “Beaten or broken: Informality and COVID-19”.
  • The extended closure of schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic could dent India’s future earnings, as depleted learning levels of students will translate into poorer productivity going forward.
  • As many as 5.5 million students could drop out of schools across South Asia,
  • Substantial learning losses would cost South Asia as much as $622 billion in future earnings and gross domestic product.

Far-reaching impact

  • South Asian governments spend only $400 billion a year on primary and secondary education, so the total loss in economic output would be substantially higher.
  • The lockdown has caused damage to businesses, consumption patterns and imposed social hardship on poor and vulnerable households, especially urban migrants and informal workers.

Massive losses

  • “Education came to a standstill and efforts to teach children during school closures proved challenging.
  • 391 million students kept out of school in primary and secondary education, complicating the efforts to resolve the learning crisis.

Remote learning tough

  • “Children have been out of school for approximately five months. It stopped children from learning new things, and forgot what they have learned.
  • Engaging children through remote learning programmes had been difficult, despite most governments’ best efforts to mitigate the impact of school closures.
  • The projected learning loss for the region is 0.5 years of learning-adjusted years of schooling at present.
  • Labour productivity will also be affected due to the disruptions in training and education.

Sustainable solutions

  • Increase integration of the global economy
  • Contagion prevention and physical distancing
  • Lift restrictions from training and apprentice courses to lower human capital and labour productivity loss.