COVID-19 has brought one of the biggest crises ever witnessed in most people’s lives. The only thing we know for certain is that the short run consequences are devastating. Besides the enormous quantity of deaths, the GDP of most countries suffered a severe cut last year. According to the IMF, the average loss in real GDP around the world corresponds to 4,4%. Furthermore, extreme poverty increased massively, with an estimated additional 5 million people falling into extreme poverty worldwide, being now 124 million (Lakner et al., 2020). So, with the global decrease in real GDP and increase in poverty, how will education in the near future be like? Besides the obvious consequences to education through GDP losses and poverty, what could be the consequences of closing schools for long periods?
Education is one of the most important drivers of human capital investment (Psacharopoulos et al, 2020). With the closure of schools, children lost education, which can lead to a lack of knowledge in comparison to other students that didn’t suffer from Covid-19 in schooling. The problem here is that when children lose part of their education, they will miss future professional opportunities, and with that, some future potential income will be lost. (Psacharopoulos et al, 2020).
Globally, the consequences of closing schools are evident and devastating for future generations in terms of income loss. The incomes of all graduates at multiple levels of education are going to be harmed, especially tertiary graduates. These represent the largest loss in terms of wage, corresponding to 725 dollars per year and in a lifetime almost 18000 dollars (Psacharopoulos et al, 2020). Moreover, secondary school graduates are estimated to lose 363 dollars per year and almost 9000 dollars over a lifetime (Psacharopoulos et al, 2020). Finally, primary school graduates are expected to lose 272 dollars per year and almost 6700 dollars over a lifetime (Psacharopoulos et al, 2020). Overall, the losses are estimated to be, at the world for current students working lifetime, 15,1 trillion dollars (Psacharopoulos et al, 2020).
Finally, the predicted losses for students in low-income countries are expected to be, within a working lifetime, of 360 billion dollars (Psacharopoulos et al, 2020). Since the poor are the ones who are more affected by the enclosure of the schools, it is expected an even higher increase in poverty and inequality. Their availability to respond to shocks is lower in comparison to middle and high-income countries, and so the capacity of satisfying the most basic needs will decrease, pushing even more people into extreme poverty.
- IMF, Real GDP growth
- Updated estimates of the impact of COVID-19 on global poverty: Looking back at 2020 and the outlook for 2021
- Lost Wages The COVID-19 Cost of School Closures
(Psacharopoulos et al, 2020)