Need to reintegrate children into the system: Abhijeet Banerjee
According to Nobel Laureate Abhijeet Banerjee, learning losses from school closures are one of the biggest global threats to long-term recovery from COVID-19 and the economic cost will be severe if remedial measures are not taken. are not taken urgently.
Noting that temporary school closures will cause permanent damage, he said simply reopening schools would not be enough and that failing to measure learning losses and take steps to reintegrate children into the system would be a “recipe for a disaster”.
The renowned economist is co-chair of the Global Education Evidence Advisory Group (GEEAP), which is working on recommendations for the education sector in the post-pandemic world. He won the 2019 Nobel Prize in Economics.
“The short- and long-term impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the education, well-being and future productivity of children is profound. Nearly two years after school closures began in most of countries around the world, governments must take urgent action to limit the Estimates suggest that the economic cost of lost learning from the crisis will run into the trillions of US dollars if corrective action is not taken urgently Banerjee told PTI in a phone interview from Massachusetts in the United States.
“While many other sectors rebounded as lockdowns eased, the damage to children’s education is likely to reduce children’s well-being and productivity for decades, causing disruption to education and learning losses due to school closures, one of the biggest threats to mid- to long-term recovery from COVID-19 unless governments act quickly,” he added.
Banerjee, who is currently a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), said schools should reopen at the earliest opportunity.
“Schools need to reopen and stay open as much as possible, but that will not be enough. It is very important to tackle the problem of dropouts to ensure that they return to school and have a plan to reintegrate children in the school system.
“Failing to measure learning loss and acting on the results will be an absolute recipe for disaster. We must recognize that children will definitely fall behind and urgent action must be taken to close the gap and minimize learning loss. income,” he said.
Launched in July 2020, GEEAP is an independent interdisciplinary body composed of leading education experts from around the world. Its mandate is to provide succinct, actionable, and policy-oriented recommendations to support decision-making by policy makers on investments in education in low- and middle-income countries.
“The third factor that countries urgently need to work on is teacher training. Teachers already had a difficult job and with learning losses, children falling behind and varying levels of learning in the classroom, it is harder for teachers to help most students catch up. Providing teachers with simple teaching guides combined with strong tracking and feedback systems can help them structure their teaching approach and ensure that children learn additional tutoring can also help children catch up,” Banerjee said.
“In addition to requiring urgent recovery efforts, the pandemic presents a rare opportunity to rethink and reset education provision so that children of all identities, socio-economic backgrounds and circumstances can learn and thrive,” he added.
Banerjee also warned against closing schools unless there is an aggressive variant of COVID-19 that puts children at extremely high risk.
“Even in the event of new outbreaks, schools should be the last institution to close and the first to reopen, given the relatively low risk of transmission and high cost to young people. If there is an aggressive variant of COVID-19 which puts children at extremely high risk, of course no one wants children to die. But if that’s not the case, I think we should avoid closing schools any further,” he said. .
Schools around the world closed in 2020 following the novel coronavirus outbreak and reopened in various countries depending on the Covid situation. At the height of the crisis, UNESCO data showed that more than 1.6 billion learners in more than 190 countries were out of school. More than 100 million teachers and school staff have been affected by the sudden closures of educational institutions.
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