The widespread closures of Schools may bring educational disruption – Abubakar Mohammad Safwan


The COVID-19 pandemic is, first and foremost, a health crisis. Recent economic downturn due to border shutdowns as well as many manufacturers remaining closed to stem the spread of Covid-19 shows it is rapidly going to be world economic crisis. This is, not stop in this two, also turning into education too. Moreover, educational disruption can be emerged especially for the students from disadvantaged family. More than 1.6 billion children and youths are out of school in 185 countries during this ongoing shutdown as an effort to halt the outbreakof lethal Coronavirus all over the world. UNESCO reckons that over 89% of the total population of students is currently out of school because of COVID-19. Experts deduce it as on the way to create gigantic crisis in world education and a greatest lifetime threat to the global education.

It is regarded that going to school is the only tool available and the best one to raise social skills and awareness for the children of least developed countries. From the economic point of view, being in school is to crystalize children’s ability. Even a relatively short time of being in school or missed out of it, has a big consequence in his personal and social development. Can we imagine what can be the consequence of this long shutdown of schools and colleges? May be that will not be estimated precisely, but studies and experts’ statement can give us an overview of such consequence.
Simon Calmar Andersen, director of TrygFonden’s Centre for Child Research, who shows what can be the effect of schooling on child skills in his study, entitled ‘The Effect of Schooling on Cognitive Skills’ (2015). The research indicates that even ten day of extra schooling to prepare for an important test increases scores of the use of knowledge by 1% standard deviation. If we extrapolate that the impact of the ongoing school closure is ten weeks (60 school days) lose out of schooling, which exposes a loss of 6% of a standard deviation that is not negligible at all.
It is being said that children will continue their learning at home during this educational institute’s closure and hoped they will not loss out too much. It is measured that families are the first and most influential in providing major inputs into the learning of a child. It might be the first thought that the large-scale expansion of home schooling is being seen quite positively. Also, child can get lots of learning from their parents and family life. But, the bigger point is this: Are all families equally eligible or have available time to devote to the learning of their child? In a developing country like Bangladesh, most of the families are not concerned well about their child’s leaning. Moreover, owing to inadequacy in content knowledge, Non-cognitive skills and resources (to access online based leanings), parents will face hardship and they may not understand what they could teach. There will be generated disparities between families based on parental education and providing Child friendly learning environment which includes family income, social networking and batter parenting etc. Finally, adverse consequence will be caused in equal human capital growth.
As school dropout has turn out to become as a global concern, United Nations guides to ‘ensure that within 2015, children everywhere, will be able to complete a full course of Primary Schooling’ (UN Guideline 2008). This widely recognized global issue has come to rethink when schools will reopen after the closures. UNESCO figures out it as challenge to ensure youths and childrenreturn to schools (UNESCO. 2020-03-10). It is expected that children will carry on their learning at home and attend television based classroom (as telecasted on BTV in BD). But, students from disadvantage family have to be confronted with impediments to keep their learning progress updue to lack access to telecasted online based learning session (UNESCO). Nevertheless, a study conducted by Arup Majumder, Ph. D Scholar, Dept. of Anthropology, Vidyasagar University, on “the Causes of Dropout among the Primary School Children (2013)” indicates that reluctance of parents in giving much importance to the education of children and poor educational status of parents are the main cause of dropout.So, that is not out of worth considering thathow much various broadcasting learning programs will be well replacement of learning lost from school.
Around 320 million children and youths are missing out free or discounted meals provided at schools due to schools closures because of COVID-19 pandemic. Many of them rely on the daily meals provided at school for healthy nutrition. For many of those children, this is, without mid-day meals, a cause of mal-nutrition and losing the protection of vital vitamins and micronutrients (WFP). UNICEF remarks thedeficiencies of vitamins and malnutrition as harmful for child’s cognitive development and leads to poor school performance and causes apathy and undesirable behavioral impacts. Moreover, there has a deep correlation between nutrition status and academic performance. Consequently, widespread closure of schools may be counted as alarming one and panic with long-term negative impact in child’s educational development and mental growth.
University students are experiencing a major educational interruption and career will be severely affected by the infectious COVID -19, also some of them are likely to complete their graduation at the beginning of a worldwide economic recession. A new Nuffield-funded report published by Resolution Foundation says job seekers at the midst of financial crisis face higher unemployment, lower pay (30% higher chance) and worse job compared to before and after the economic recession. The chance for higher study abroad also has come to fall in as various high ranked universities are yet to end summer semester and delaying to make any announcement regarding the application deadline for the upcoming semester (winter) in most popular study destination for international students like Australia, Germany, France, Russia etc. This type of episode also can cause a tremendous level of stress among the university students and lead to unfavorable effects on their learning and psychology as mentioned in a report of ‘journal infection and public health’ and foresees a serious impact on the career of this years’ university graduates.
Considering the pandemic as an opportunity to rethink about our teaching-learning process, we should emphasize on rebuilding our educational resources and make policy (especially for new graduates) supportive to vulnerable as well as public private educational partnerships should grow in importance. Hopefully, this disruption may lead our education system to a surprising innovation.

The author is Studying in the Institute of Education and Research (IER) at University of Dhaka.