The Economic and Social Impact of COVID-19 on Education (News and Research 199)


The Economic and Social Impact of COVID-19: Education

  • The COVID-19 pandemic shocks to the education systems will have negative short and long-term impact.
  • All Western Balkan countries have responded to the disruption in education delivery by introducing various remote teaching modalities. Yet despite prompt action, learning loss will be unavoidable and considerable, disproportionately affecting the disadvantaged, with a larger share of students falling back into functional illiteracy and potentially dropping out of school altogether. Estimates suggest that those below basic proficiency in reading may increase from the current 53 percent to 61 percent.
  • While schools remain closed or partially reopened, strengthened delivery of remote learning and support to teachers and parents can mitigate learning loss.
  • Western Balkan countries should also seize the opportunity to make education more effective, inclusive and resilient.

All RER HD notes are posted on the RER. In English, Albanian, Bosnian, Macedonian, Serbian. In the news: a 3-minute story on YouTube summarizing main findings, and making the point that COVID19 impact might be even larger in Kosovo given the lower starting point. Also, here and here.

Under pressure: COVID-19 and the funding of European higher education | Nina Arnhold, Frank Ziegele, Jussi Kivistö | Once upon a time there were three little pigs. Each built a house: one from straw, one from sticks, and one from bricks. One day, the big bad wolf came to eat the little pigs. He blew the first house down, then the second house.  But he couldn’t blow the third house down, and the little pigs survived. Fast forward to 2020. The wolf threatening European and international higher education is the coronavirus (COVID-19). Institutions are closed, struggling to put together online learning on short notice and to keep their students virtually close while few if any remain on campus. The little pigs look at each other and wonder: which house is going to survive? The “houses” we’re talking about are the financial foundations of European higher education systems. To simplify, there are three basic models: the privately funded one (“the house of the market”), the publicly funded one (“the house of public good”), and “the house with a diversified base.” While the wolf is making his way through the village, which houses will he blow down?

Всемирный банк оценил потери от дистанта | World Bank estimates losses from distance learning: Do interruptions in the work of schools, even if they switch to the online learning format, affect the quality of education? What categories of children are at greatest risk? These and other questions are answered by World Bank Senior Education Specialist Tigran Shmis.

New study reveals long-term impact of disaster-related school closures Four years after the earthquake, there were no differences in public infrastructure, household or adult outcomes between areas close to and far from the fault line. However, children in their critical first thousand days at the time of the earthquake accumulated large height deficits, with the youngest the most affected. Children aged 3 through 15 at the time of the earthquake did not suffer growth shortfalls, but scored significantly worse on academic tests if they lived close to the fault line. Finally, children whose mothers completed primary education were fully protected against the emergence of a test score gap. We estimate that if these deficits continue to adult life, the affected children could stand to lose 15 percent of their lifetime earnings. Even when disasters are heavily compensated, human capital accumulation can be critically interrupted, with greater losses for already disadvantaged populations.

How the Pandemic Could Disrupt Higher Education

Tuition Fees and Student Effort at University | Beneito, Bosca & Ferri present evidence that an increase in tuition fees may boost university students’ academic effort.

Video-recording of the Webinar “Income Contingent Loans for Higher Education and COVID-19” by Bruce Chapman, held on May 26, 2020: