COVID-19: Learning Loss is Real (News and Research 291)

An Analysis of COVID-19 Student Learning Loss | Learning loss is real. A review of 36 robust studies shows that, on average, students lost 0.17 of a standard deviation, or the equivalent of a /2 years’ worth of learning.

In An Analysis of COVID-19 Student Learning Loss (World Bank Policy Research Working Paper 10033), Emiliana Vegas, Rohan Carter-Rau and I review the rigorous evidence on student learning trends since the advent of the pandemic and the ensuing school closures.

COVID-19 caused significant disruption to the global education system. Early reviews of the first wave of lockdowns and school closures suggested significant learning loss in a few countries. A more recent and thorough analysis of recorded learning loss evidence documented since the beginning of the school closures between March 2020 and March 2022 finds even more evidence of learning loss.

Most studies observed increases in inequality where certain demographics of students experienced more significant learning losses than others. But there are also outliers, countries that managed to limit the amount of loss. This review aims to consolidate all the available evidence and documents the empirical findings.

Thirty-six robust studies were identified, the majority of which find learning losses on average amounting to 0.17 of a standard deviation, equivalent to roughly a one-half years’ worth of learning.

These findings confirm that learning loss is real and significant, even compared to the first year of the pandemic. Further work is needed to increase the quantity of studies produced, and to ascertain the reasons for learning loss and in a few cases mitigation of loss.


Sebastian Molineus: Due to the closure of schools during the coronavirus pandemic, the 12-year education may equal the 7.4-year education | According to Sebastian Molineus, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus, due to the closure of schools during the coronavirus pandemic, the 12-year education may equal the 7.4-year education. At the same time, according to him, the closure of schools may also decrease Georgia’s results by 8 score in PISA international assessments. “According to the World Bank forecast, due to the closure of schools during the coronavirus pandemic, the 12-year education may equal the 7.4-year education. In particular, the closure of schools will affect students who are in an unfavorable economic environment. The closure of schools may also lead to an 8-point reduction in Georgia’s score in PISA international assessments. As in many countries around the world, the closure of schools in Georgia has had a severe impact on the quality of education. As for what we need to do, first of all, it is important to assess what damage has been done to the education system in Covid conditions, and after that, it is important to adapt the curricula to modern challenges in a timely manner. Importantly, the curriculum must respond to the setbacks that the education system has had over the last 2 years. Of course, it is necessary to adapt programs to the needs as soon as possible, especially for the primary school students,” Molineus said. A conference on post-pandemic steps at the elementary level is currently being held at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel, with the participation of education experts. [Georgia (online) conference:  Identify and mitigate learning loss:  Steps to take when school resumes in September 2022; also speaking: Mikheil Chkhenkeli, Minister of Education and Science, Georgia; Giorgi Amilakhvari, Chair Parliament’s Education and Science Committee; USAID; UNICEF; Irina Khantadze, Education for All; Luis Crouch, RTI; Noam Angrist]


“Pandemic children” will earn 10% less than those who did not study online | «Дети пандемии» будут зарабатывать на 10% меньше, чем те, кто не учился онлайн | This forecast was given by experts at a discussion of the consequences of coronavirus in education. The grim figures came from the head of the World Bank’s Global Education Practice for Europe and Central Asia. Harry Patrinos at a round table on the topic “Transformation of Education in Central Asia” in Almaty on May 6. Worldwide, almost 90% of educational institutions in 2020-2021 were quarantined, the expert recalled, 1.65 billion students were affected. How will this affect their future and the future of their countries? [Forbes Kazakhstan]

Academy of Education: how to restore losses in schoolchildren’s education | Академия образования: как восстановить потери в обучении школьников | On the basis of the National Academy of Education named after Y. Altynsarin, representatives of the Academy, the World Bank and the Information and Analytical Center of the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Kazakhstan held a round table on the topic: “Accelerating the recovery of learning losses in Kazakhstan.” The round table participants discussed international experience in resuming the learning process after the pandemic, as well as Kazakhstan’s experience in organizing the educational process during the pandemic, measuring learning losses and filling gaps in the knowledge of Kazakhstani schoolchildren. In his recommendations, Harry Patrinos, Head of the World Bank Global Practice for Education, noted that along with the resumption of traditional learning, an important step to make up for the loss in learning is the need to systematically measure the level of students’ knowledge, adjust curricula and prioritize functional literacy skills, improve teaching efficiency, increase teaching hours and psychological support for children and teachers. []


Transformation of Education in Central Asia| Трансформация образования в Центральной Азии | A round table was held at Abai University, organized jointly with the World Bank office in Almaty as part of the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the WB partnership with the countries of Central Asia, the press service of the university reports. The event was attended by international and regional experts in the field of education from the countries of the region and other countries of the world, as well as 100 students of the project 𝗛𝗼𝗻𝗼𝗿𝘀 𝗖𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗴𝗲 of Abai University. Susanna Hayrapetyan, Head of the World Bank Human Capital Development Programs in Central Asia, moderated the event. The meeting was opened by the rector of the university Darkhan Bilyalov. Noting the importance of transforming education in Central Asia and the experience of the leading pedagogical university of the Republic of Kazakhstan in restoring education systems in the post-pandemic period and introducing educational innovations, as well as the challenges in the industry that all universities in the world face today, he stressed that today, more than ever, it is necessary cooperation, exchange of necessary information, support for each other and all kinds of assistance from national and foreign organizations. Harry Patrinos, Head of the WB Global Practice in Education Department, in his report “Transformations in Education in Central Asia: Global Perspectives” spoke in detail about a study on this topic, the impact of the pandemic on the economy and education of the countries of the region and the world. During the round table, international experience in restoring education systems after the pandemic and educational innovations that help in this process, as well as sectoral problems faced by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, and ways to solve acute issues were discussed. Experts from the countries of Central Asia, heads of educational authorities and institutions of the region made presentations and exchanged experience on the opportunities for transforming education systems that open up during the period of socio-economic recovery after the pandemic. The event was held at a high level and was useful for all its participants.


Armenia to get around 23 million Euro loan to build, equip kindergartens and schools | The Armenian government approved today the proposal to sign the loan agreement (22 million 600 thousand Euros) between Armenia and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) aimed at improving education.


Latvia: World Bank recently concluded the final conference on the new academic framework developed for Latvia. The conference was successful, and the Ministry of Education, as well as participating representatives from higher education institutions, were pleased with the presentations and discussions.

Cette destruction de capital humain provoquée par la Russie en Ukraine que l’on commence à pouvoir mesureravec Noam Angrist. Atlantico: Dans votre étude “La perte de capital humain en Ukraine” (“The loss of human capital in Ukraine”) publiée sur VoxEU, vous analysez les perturbations liées au conflit que vont subir les générations qui étaient scolarisées. Qu’avons-nous appris des précédentes situations de ce type ? Quels risques ces situations d’urgence font-elles peser sur l’éducation des enfants ]?


Joint plans with the World Bank to improve the general education system in Uzbekistan have been identified | On May 3, Minister of Public Education Bakhtiyor Saidov met with Harry Patrinos, World Bank Europe and Central Asia Education Practice Manager, and Marco Mantovanelli, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan. The meeting focused on the next steps in reforming the education system and its transformation into a world-class system of the economy and the application of international experience to support economic growth and development, as well as a new investment project “Improving economic growth in the country through public education reform” under World Bank’s Country Partnership Program with Uzbekistan for 2022-2026. At the end of the meeting, specific plans were identified to further improve the knowledge and skills of teachers in the public education system, including the involvement of international experts and consultants in the field of education in Uzbekistan [].


Expérimenter pour mieux éduquer | Le Français Stanislas Dehaene, professeur de psychologie cognitive au Collège de France et président du Conseil scientifique de l’Éducation nationale (CSEN), et l’Américaine Élizabeth Spelke, professeure de psychologie cognitive à l’université de Harvard et membre du CSEN, proposent de « ne mettre en œuvre, à l’école, que des innovations pédagogiques ayant fait l’objet d’expérimentations ».


Education Impacts of the Covid-19 School Closures | Mitigating the Learning Losses Caused by the COVID-19 School Closures | Conference jointly organized by World Bank and IDEA at CERGE-EI | 21 June 2022, 13:00 – 18:00 (Central European Summer Time – UTC +2) | Prague, CERGE-EI (The Schebek Palace, Politických vězňů 7, Prague 1) | Format: Hybrid: online and in-person | Register Now | The objective of this conference is to document the size and determinants of the learning loss brought about by school closures, identify policy options to reverse these losses, and setting the bases of a more resilient education system. The Conference is divided into three parts: (1) An overview of the pre-pandemic global learning crisis and the mechanisms through which this was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic; (2) The elements of a “Learning Recovery Plan” based on recent evidence of interventions that have proven to be effective to improve learning, particularly among disadvantaged students; and (3) Lessons that can be drawn from the COVID-19 pandemic in the road towards the construction of a more resilient, efficient, and equitable education system. The Conference will be concluded by a panel summarizing a call to action. (Confirmed speakers: Daniel Münich (IDEA at CERGE-EI), Nuno Crato (University of Lisbon), Maciej Jakubowski (University of Warsaw), Gunda Tire (Finland), Lenora Chu (Christian Science Monitor), Lucas Gortazar (EsadeEcPol), Vaclav Korbel (IDEA at CERGE-EI). Thierry Rocher (Ministère de l’éducation nationale and Université Paris X Nanterre), Hjalte Meilvang (Ministry of Education, Denmark), Rafael de Hoyos, Harry Patrinos (World Bank).