The loss according to the report titled; The State of the Global Education Crisis: A Path to Recovery report published by World Bank-UNESCO-UNICEF, is equivalent to about 14 percent of today’s global Gross Domestic Product-GDP.
The lengthy closure of schools resulting from
the COVID-19 pandemic might cost
students trillions of dollars in lifetime earnings, according to the new World Bank and UN agencies report. The report warns that
the crisis has worsened
since last year.
The report indicates that the current generation
of learners might lose USD 17 trillion in lifetime earnings - in present value - as
a result of the COVID-19
pandemic-related school closures. The
loss according to the report titled; The State of the Global Education Crisis:
A Path to Recovery report published by World Bank-UNESCO-UNICEF, is equivalent
to about 14 percent of today’s global Gross Domestic Product-GDP.
This new projection reveals that the impact of the pandemic
that shut down schools across the world disrupting education for 1.6 billion
students at its peak and exacerbated the gender divide is more severe than
previously thought, and far exceeds the USD 10 trillion estimates released in
However, the disruptions and impact are not being
felt equally, with the study finding that poorer and disabled children have
less access to remote learning, while younger students were overall more
affected. Girls had both less ability to shift to remote learning and more
education loss overall, the report added.
The analysis also shows that in many countries, on
average, learning losses are roughly proportional to the length of the closures. Schools in Uganda have remained closed for over
80 weeks, which is the longest school closure recorded across the world, yet
the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown, which
led to the closure of schools is projected to worsen the already waning
learning outcomes in the country.
With the prolonged closure, the World Bank estimates that
Ugandan children may lose an average of 0.7 to 1.4 learning adjusted years of
school resulting in Shillings 600,000
to Shillings 1.1
million lost earnings per person per year. Learning
adjusted years of school is a tool that helps to reveal the real outcomes
learners are achieving considering factors like the number of years of school
an average child can expect to achieve by her 18th birthday and what she or he
learns, based on globally harmonized test scores.
In a press release
issued on Monday, the
Director of Education in UNICEF, Robert
Jenkins said that to stem the scars on this generation, governments must reopen
schools and keep them open, target outreach to return learners to school, and
accelerate learning recovery.
Jaime Saavedra, the World Bank’s Global Director
for Education, also noted that the loss of learning that many children are
experiencing is morally unacceptable. “The COVID-19 crisis brought education systems across the
world to a halt. Now, 21 months later, schools remain closed for millions of
children, and others may never return to school,” said Saavedra.
However, Stefania Giannini, UNESCO Assistant
Director-General for Education was optimistic noting that with individual
government leadership and support from the international community, there is a
great deal that can be done to make systems more equitable, efficient, and
resilient, capitalizing on lessons learned throughout the pandemic and on
"But to do that, we must make children and
youth a real priority amidst all the other demands of the pandemic
response. Their future – and our collective future – depends on it,"
Giannini said. Going forward, the report recommends that
reopening schools must remain a top and urgent priority globally to stem and
reverse learning losses. It further advises countries to put in place Learning Recovery Programs to ensure that students of this generation attain at
least the same competencies as the previous generation.
The Learning Recovery Programs, according to the
report, must cover three key lines of action to recover learning: consolidating
the curriculum; extending instructional time, and improving the efficiency of
build more resilient education systems for the long-term, the study notes that
countries should consider investing in the enabling environment to unlock the
potential of digital learning opportunities for all students, reinforcing the
role of parents, families, and communities in children’s learning and ensuring
teachers have support and access to high-quality professional development
More critical though is increasing the share of
education in the national budget allocation of stimulus packages. Currently, while governments worldwide have
unveiled stimulus measures to bolster their economies against the pandemic’s
disruptions, the report shows that less than three percent of these funds have
gone to education, and more than 200 million students live in countries that
don’t have the means to offer all lessons remotely.