The Impact of COVID-19 (News and Research 287)

The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Learning in Greece: Investigation of the University Entrance Exams | It  has  been  evidenced  by  a  number  of  studies  and  international  organizations  that  the unprecedentedCovid-19  pandemic  has  caused  disruptions  to  schooling  around  the world; drastic  measures  were  undertaken  for  the  health of people,  among  which were school closures. The expected impact on student learning was big and, in most cases, led to   learning   loss;   a   cost   that   may   seriously   affect   human   capital   accumulation, productivity, and the quality of life for individuals and societies. The aim of this study was  to  explore the  case  of school  closures  in  Greece,  during  the  pandemic.  It  used  the results   of   the   Panhellenic   University   Entrance   Exams   (PUEE)   by   comparing   the achievements of the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 student cohorts with those of the previous school year (2018-2019). A considerable loss seems to be present in both years, as opposed to the year before the pandemic. Several interesting issues arose regarding the learning effectiveness  of  the  type  of  education  provided  (distance,  tele-education,  blended  or other); these are presented with reference to the current educational debate in Greece. It is shown that the most vulnerable are those that experienced the pandemic measures for two subsequent years. Also, some  suggestions for remedial measures are provided for increased future effectiveness

Disability and Intrahousehold Investment Decisions in Education: Empirical Evidence from Bangladesh Important paper on the existence of disability-related biases and associated factors with parental decisions on intra-household investment in education recently published. Does disability bias exist in intrahousehold investment in education? If so, where does such bias exist, in the stage of enrollment or thereafter? Why parents don’t want to invest in the education of persons with disabilities and what are the key factors affecting parental investment decision? Investment disparity in the education of persons with disabilities may be larger on the part of parents, in part resulting from predicted lower returns to the investment due to mistaken beliefs about their capabilities, or actual lower returns due to barriers in the labor market. Using a nationally representative dataset from Bangladesh and utilizing the framework of the Engel curve, we investigate intrahousehold investment decisions in education between children with and without disabilities. The results of the hurdle model show the existence of disability bias in enrollment decisions, whereas individual-level analysis suggests that bias exists on educational expenditure after children with disabilities enroll in school. Additionally, though we observe a lower level of bargaining power among household heads on educational investments for their children with disabilities, interaction effects suggest the importance of greater income stability and maternal education status being instrumental to improving the education of persons with disabilities.


Russia’s war in Ukraine has caused at least $68bn in physical damage

Footage from the Ukrainian front line shows buildings reduced to rubble, black smoke and twisted metal. Assessing such destruction in the fog of war is a tall order. But according to an early analysis by the Kyiv School of Economics (KSE), the physical damage already exceeded $68bn as of April 1st, equivalent to more than a third of Ukraine’s GDP in 2021. The team of analysts combined around 1,000 eyewitness reports with data on damaged structures from Ukrainian government ministries. Cities besieged or captured by the Russian army—like Chernihiv and Mariupol—are still unreachable. To estimate the damage in these areas the researchers relied on rough estimates from town officials. There has been at least $28bn worth of damage to roads. Add in damage to bridges, ports and railways, and the infrastructure bill exceeds $58bn. Some 196 health-care facilities have been destroyed across Ukraine, which will cost another $2bn to rebuild. Around 300 kindergartens lay in ruins, amounting to $226m worth of damage. These numbers are incomplete: economic losses, destruction of livestock and crops, and a shrinking workforce as people flee are not included. Ukraine’s Ministry of Economy and KSE estimate that all losses combined could range from $564bn to $600bn, or 2.8 to 3 times its GDP in 2021. For comparison, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia reckons that in the first eight years of war in Syria, the country suffered economic and physical losses of $440bn, or 1.5 times its pre-war GDP. As the war in Ukraine goes on, the reconstruction bill will only rise.

How Polish schools are coping with an influx of Ukrainian children

Yulia Bodar’s classroom was once the back bedroom of a large Warsaw apartment. Now it boasts a blackboard, a bright carpet decorated with cartoon animals, and desks at which a dozen small children are learning to write. Her pupils are refugees from Ukraine who have arrived in Poland since Russia invaded their country on February 24th. She is a newcomer herself, having fled western Ukraine with her own two children not long after the bombs began to fall…

Europe’s Duty to Ukraine’s Education Sector | Niki Kerameus | Beyond the toll of civilian casualties and refugees produced by Russia’s war in Ukraine, hundreds of thousands of children have lost access to schooling. Given that education is a powerful force for mitigating the damage from such crises, Europeans must do more to support Ukraine’s education sector.

Poland, Estonia and Finland Make Space in Schools for Ukrainian Refugees | Over 4 million refugees have fled the war in Ukraine to surrounding European countries, among them Poland, Estonia, and Finland. Poland has accepted the highest number so far, at over 2 million. The Minister of Education and Sciences suggested that this might mean up to 700,000 new students in schools. The government has already allocated US$42 million for psychological and pedagogical services and will allow Ukrainian teachers who know Polish to work in the schools. Still, many fear there are not enough teachers or support for the huge wave of new entrants to the system. About 7,600 school-aged Ukrainian children have entered Estonia as refugees so far. Its schools have vacancies at this point and are expected to be able to absorb the new students. The exception is in the capital city of Tallinn, where the Minister of Education and Research has suggested a need to create a new language immersion high school to serve both Ukrainian and Estonian students. The Ministry has already created 10,000 spaces in Estonian language classes this coming summer and has also directed teachers across the country, including the quarter of schools that are Russian-speaking, to explain the situation to school children objectively and not justify Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine. Finally, Finnish schools are preparing to accept thousands of Ukrainian children as well but have raised concerns about adequate psychological support for the trauma the children have experienced. Finland’s quick moves to open space for Ukrainians in higher education has also led to other refugee communities raising questions about preferential treatment.

Remote education and its impact on school achievements: cross-sectional research in Poland and Ukraine | Remote education is treated as a negative phenomenon leading to an educational loss and a competency gap. In response to the emergence of this problem, the first representative studies of this type during remote education were conducted, aimed at showing the students’ opinions on this subject. The study used the method of representative survey carried out with the CAPI technique on a sample of 1000 students in Poland and 1022 in Ukraine. The results of the research show that, according to the subjective assessment of students, the level of their school knowledge has decreased compared to the period before the pandemic. The analyzes also showed that the secondary effect of the pandemic is the main factor responsible for the sense of educational loss.

Millions of Ukrainian children are still in school despite the war

Russia attacking more than 20 schools a day in Ukraine, Save the Children says