A new analysis of the Covid-19 pandemic's impact on education, just published in the journal Nature Human Behavior, reveals that children worldwide experienced learning deficits equivalent to around one third of a school year. The effects have been most severe in developing countries and among children from low-income backgrounds, with learning delays and regressions persisting even after school doors reopened.
Researchers are calling for officials worldwide to provide intensive summer programs and tutoring initiatives to target poorer students who have been most affected. In the US, data suggests the average public elementary or middle school student lost the equivalent of a half-year of learning in maths, with some districts losing more than a full year.
Surprisingly, almost half of parents surveyed last year said they did not believe their children had suffered any achievement loss during the pandemic. In reality, the long-term effects of the pandemic on education could result in lost wages and earnings of up to $28 trillion over the rest of the century.
The findings of this new research have highlighted the urgent need for aggressive intervention to mitigate the educational deficits caused by the pandemic. Without such measures, the long-term impact is likely to be felt most severely in developing countries and among children from low-income backgrounds.