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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Shutting down school due to COVID-19 may cost India over $400 billion says: World Bank

622 billion USD lost in the South Asian region due to school closures in the present scenario or up to 880 billion USD to make it look more pessimistic, said the World Bank. Further adding, while the regional loss is largely driven by India, all countries will lose their GDP of substantial shares.

A report titled “Beaten or Broken? Informality and COVID-19 in South Asia” was put out in which the World Bank addresses the South Asian Economic Focus, Fall 2020. The report has stated that South Asia is on the verge of going into its worst recession ever in 2020 as the disturbing impacts of COVID-19 on the region’s economies remain.

Universities and schools across the country were ordered shut on March 16 to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. On March 25, the Centre announced a nationwide lockdown. While several restrictions have been eased gradually in different phases of the ”unlock” since June 8, educational institutions continue to remain closed.

What might lead India into this recession in 2020?

Even though schools have been closed in all the South Asian countries, we have had major implications for the students. 391 million students are out of the school in primary and secondary sections, which is complicating the further efforts taken to resolve the educational crisis. While most of the government bodies have taken enormous efforts in lessening the impact due to closed schools, it has been a difficult challenge to create engagement through remote learning initiatives for the children.

This pandemic might cause up to 5.5 million students, dropping out of the education system as their learning regime has been brought to a halt, causing substantial learning losses which will have a permanent effect on their productivity and the generation of the students.

Schools systems closed in March, and though there have been important exceptions, few countries have started to reopen their schools or already have opened them. Approximately, children have been out of school for 5 months now. Not being schooled for that long not only means that they stop learning new things, but they might have also forgotten what they had learned so far.

A concept introduced by the World Bank seeks to combine access and learning outcomes into a single measure. Combining the years of schooling and how much the kids know at their given grade level, into a single summary measure of human capital in a society.

Let’s look into what this new concept is!

The ‘Learning Adjusted Year of Schooling’ projected learning loss in the region is 0.5 of learning adjusted years of schooling (LAYS), dropping from 6.5 to 6.0, a huge obstruction from recent advances in schooling. The report has projected, that based on the country data on household labor incomes, a child in South Asia on average might lose 4,400 USD in earnings, once having entered the labor market, which is equal to 5% of total earning.

Using the reduced level of learning caused by this crisis, the projection is based on what we know about the current scenario of returning to the schools. For the children in South Asia, summing up these numbers, the region is in a position to lose 622 billion USD because of closed school in the present situation, or even up to 880 billion USD.

3.7 crore people are infected across the globe because of the novel coronavirus claiming over 10.5 lakh lives. The caseloads in India stands at 71.2 lakhs while the number of deaths in the country is up to 1.09 lakh.

“While the regional loss is largely driven by India, all countries will lose substantial shares of their GDP. For reference, note that South Asian governments spend only USD 400 billion per year in total on primary and secondary education. The total loss in economic output from the current closures is hence substantially higher than what countries currently spend on education,” stated in the report

According to the latest unlock guidelines, after the 15th of October, schools, colleges, and other educational facilities can be reopened if they are outside the COVID-19 containment zones. Finalizing the decision on reopening these institutes has been left with the authorities of the union territories and the state.

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