Helping Low-Income Students (News and Research 254)

Russia’s education system could achieve better teaching and learning outcomes if it focused more on developing 21st-century skills says Tigran Shmis

Helping Low-Income Students Save for College | The California Comeback Plan, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this month, lays the groundwork to create college savings accounts for 3.7 million low-income children in public schools across the state. Starting in the 2021-22 school year, California will provide a college savings account with $500 for every low-income first to 12th grade student in the state. Going forward, every incoming low-income first grader will automatically receive a college savings account with an initial deposit of $500 from the state. Providing funds for low-income students to save for post-secondary education is a strategy used by some top-performing countries such as Canada. Canada offers families the opportunity to create a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for their children. Through the Canada Education Savings Grant, the government matches 20 percent of family contributions up to CAN$500 per year, regardless of income, and an additional 20 percent match for low-income families. The government also makes annual contributions to RESPs for low-income families through the Canada Learning Bond, with no requirement for a family contribution. The bond provides an initial deposit of CAN$500 and CAN$100 each subsequent year until a child turns 15 for a maximum of CAN$2000.

Technical and Vocational Education and Training in Tajikistan and Other Countries in Central Asia: Key Findings and Policy Options | This publication details how technical and vocational education and training (TVET) has evolved in Tajikistan and other countries in Central Asia. It offers recommendations to enhance regional cooperation in labor market and TVET development. Tajikistan and other countries in Central Asia, such as Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, are striving to align TVET with their economic realities. Job shortage and the gap between TVET and the needs of employers must be addressed by these countries. The publication recommends improvements across different areas, including management and governance as well as regional collaboration and experience sharing.

Shortage of Dutch Teachers Makes Spending COVID Recovery Funds Difficult | Shortages of teachers in the Netherlands are making it difficult for schools to spend the €8.5 billion (US$10 billion) in funding provided to help them accelerate learning in the wake of the pandemic. The primary school council PO-Raad reported that more than 40 percent of schools have not been able to find teachers to fill roles they planned to staff with the government recovery funds, which must be spent in two years. Chair of the council Freddy Weima said the shortages are greatest in the major cities in the Netherlands but that other regions across the country are experiencing shortages as well. School heads are concerned about special needs teachers leaving their roles to take on new positions, making special needs an area of particular shortages. Leaders are also pointing to the need to close a long-standing wage gap between primary and secondary teachers, which has left the shortages concentrated at the primary level.

England’s school year staggers to a disappointing end | Almost a quarter of children were absent | The school year in England did not draw to a close, so much as sputter out. By the time schools began breaking up in mid-July, nearly a quarter of pupils were already absent, according to government figures released on July 20th. A large share were stuck at home as a result of rules requiring whole classes to isolate for ten days, should any pupil test positive for covid-19. But absences for other reasons were also far higher than usual. Some parents appeared to have taken children out of school for fear they would be ordered to isolate, potentially grounding the entire family just as the summer holidays began.

Cognitive deficits in people who have recovered from COVID-19 | People who had recovered from COVID-19, including those no longer reporting symptoms, exhibited significant cognitive deficits versus controls when controlling for age, gender, education level, income, racial-ethnic group, pre-existing medical disorders, tiredness, depression and anxiety. The deficits were of substantial effect size for people who had been hospitalised, but also for non-hospitalised cases who had biological confirmation of COVID-19 infection. Analysing markers of premorbid intelligence did not support these differences being present prior to infection. Finer grained analysis of performance across sub-tests supported the hypothesis that COVID-19 has a multi-domain impact on human cognition.

Learning Recovery after COVID-19 In Europe and Central Asia: Policy and Practice

The COVID-19 Cost of School Closures in Earnings and Income across the World

HLO (Harmonized Learning Outcomes) |Now in print in Nature: Angrist, N., S. Djankov, P.K. Goldberg and H.A. Patrinos. 2021. Measuring Human Capital using Global Learning DataNature 592: 403-408 | Summary in VoxEU | Data

Learning Loss During COVID-19: An Early Systematic Review