Schools closure linked to COVID-19 risk placing an extra 72 million primary school aged children into learning poverty, which means that these children are unable to read and understand a simple text by the age of 10, as shared by the World Bank on Wednesday.
As per the shared details, the pandemic is amplifying the global learning crisis that already existed, according to two new World Bank reports, which outlined a new vision for learning and the investments and policies needed, including on education technology.
The pandemic could surge the percentage of primary-school-age children in low- and middle-income countries living in learning poverty to 63 percent from 53 percent, and it puts this generation of students at risk of losing about 10 trillion dollars in future life-time earnings, an amount equivalent to almost 10 percent of global GDP, the reports showed.
School closures as a result of coronavirus have left most students on the planet out of school – 1.6 billion students at the peak in April 2020, and still almost 700 million students today, according to the reports.
In responding to the pandemic, education systems have been urged to rapidly implement innovations in remote learning at scale. However, the huge digital divides and inequalities in the quality of parental support and home learning environments are amplifying learning inequality.
“Without urgent action, this generation of students may never acquire their full capabilities and earnings potential, and countries will lose essential human capital to sustain long-term economic growth,” said Mamta Murthi, World Bank Vice President for Human Development, in a virtual launch event Wednesday.