OECD Says Huge Loss To Global Economy Due To Closure Of Schools Amid Pandemic

Global economic growth for the rest of the current century could be lower by 1.5 per cent on the average because of the interruption to children’s schooling in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic, warned the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

For the United States, this projected loss of gross domestic product, which measures economic growth, could be as much as a loss of $15.3 trillion, said the intergovernmental economic organization.

The basis of this prediction is the assumption that the students in the US recorded a “corona-induced loss of skills” of one-tenth of a standard deviation and based on that the forecast assumed all cohorts of the students returned to previous levels thereafter.

An estimation of how the global economy would be affected by students’ losing out on one-third of the school year was done in the research paper by the OECD published on Tuesday hich cited third-party data.

There would be a negative impact on global productivity because of a loss of skills among students due to the loss of time in the classroom in the wake of the pandemic. The OECD said that for the typical country, the resultant impact of skill loss and consequent loss of productivity due to lost schooling could amount to 69 per cent of the current GDP.

The presumption in this study assumed that missing schools because of the pandemic will result in impacting only the current cohort of students and that those of students in the future will not be affected and they will be able to resume normal schooling.

If schools were slow to return to “previous levels of performance”, losses to economic growth could be “proportionately higher”, the OECD said.

It has been months that children all around the world have been forced to take a break from school and resort to homeschooling and many schools remained open only to the children of key workers. There are also concerns that the learning gaps already exposed by the pandemic could be exacerbated with the extension of this period of homeschooling.

Children have depended more on their own resources to study remotely even though schools and educators have made a concerted effort to maintain learning during this period of homeschooling, the OECD said. Additionally, many teachers may not have been trained in adapting to the new methods of teaching, the OECD said.   

Continuing to build on the infrastructure for remote learning was one of the suggestions that had been made in the paper by the OECD in order to reduce the setbacks in education, in the absence of a widely available vaccine.

Beyond the pandemic, the OECD said that “there are evident benefits to students in expanding their learning time and opportunities beyond the school gate by being able to learn using a variety of distance learning approaches.”

(Adapted from CNBC.com)

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