Prolonged closure of schools may cost India $400 billion: World Bank

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on October 13, 2020 Published on October 13, 2020

Around 55 lakh students may drop out of the education system that can have a lifetime impact on them, says the report

According to the recent World Bank report titled ‘Beaten or Broken? Informality and Covid-19 in South Asia’, the prolonged closure of schools in India could cost the country over $400 billion in future earnings.

For the continent, the estimated loss, in an optimistic scenario, stands at $622 billion, while for the pessimistic scenario, this could stand at $880 billion. The report added that this continental loss is largely driven by India.

The report further estimated that the South Asian region is going to witness its worst-ever recession this year, exacerbated by the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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The report noted: “Temporary school closures in all South Asian countries have had major implications for students. They have kept 391 million students out of school in primary and secondary education, further complicating efforts to resolve the learning crisis.”

It added: “While most governments have made enormous efforts to mitigate the impact of school closures, it has been difficult to engage children through remote learning initiatives.”

The report said that around 55 lakh students may drop out of the education system that can have a lifetime impact on them.

The report stated: “Most school systems closed in March, and — though there are important exceptions — countries are starting to reopen or have already opened their schools. Children have been out of school for approximately five months. Being out of school for that long means that children not only stop learning new things, but also forget some of what they have learned.”

“The projected learning loss for the region is 0.5 years of learning-adjusted years of schooling (LAYS), falling from 6.5 LAYS to 6.0 LAYS, an enormous setback from recent advances in schooling,” it said.

Also read: Government issues guidelines for reopening of schools

The multilateral organisation wrote: “These projections are based on what we currently know about return to schooling, using the reduced level of learning caused by the crisis. Summing these numbers for all children in South Asia, the region stands to lose $622 billion from the school closures in the present scenario, or up to $880 billion in a more pessimistic scenario.”

“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 $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,” it said.

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Published on October 13, 2020
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