• A study published in “Nature Human Behavior” on Monday reported that students lost more than one-third of a school year’s worth of learning after the start of the COVID pandemic, which caused global school closures.
  • The study analyzed 42 reports across 15 countries and found that, in addition to closures, the shift to remote learning and the mental health toll of being out of school contributed to the learning loss, with particular deficiencies found in math.
  • The analysis also concluded that, although efforts by schools to prevent further learning loss have mostly been successful, attempts to catch the kids up have fallen short.
  • It further added that kids from lower-income families in high- and middle-income countries were affected the most. While there was limited data from lower-income countries, the probe forecast that this trend applies to those children as well.
  • The researchers didn't assess the specific causes of the disruption, but many attribute it to changes in school environments, disruption to family life, less in-person instruction, and less access to extracurricular activities.
  • This study comes on the heels of the release of results of the 2022 US National Assessment of Educational Progress exams in October — the first since COVID — which showed that fourth- and eighth-graders had significant drop-offs in reading and math.


Narrative A

In the face of an unprecedented pandemic, governments did their best, and school closures were deemed necessary. While COVID's exacerbation of what was an already existing global education crisis is inarguable, it's now time to focus on collective action to lay the foundations for more equitable and resilient education systems worldwide.

Narrative B

School closures were universally rushed based on the misplaced presumption that it would prevent the spread of COVID, and children worldwide are now paying the price. Even with aggressive action, the drain on students' learning, mental health, and socio-economic development will be felt for years to come.

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