A new GLO Discussion Paper shows that students unable to learn remotely, because of a lack of the necessary ICT resources at home or at school or of a quiet place to study, experience significant cognitive losses.
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GLO Discussion Paper No. 679, 2020
Coronavirus pandemic, remote learning and education inequalities – Download PDF
by Murat, Marina & Bonacini, Luca
GLO Fellows Marina Murat & Luca Bonacini
Author Abstract: School closures during the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 forced countries to swiftly adopt distance learning, with uncertain effects on education inequalities. Using PISA 2018 data from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom, we find that students unable to learn remotely, because of a lack of the necessary ICT resources at home or at school or of a quiet place to study, experience significant cognitive losses that, everything else equal, range from 70 percent of a school year in the United Kingdom to 50 percent in Italy. Similar results are found by considering days of absence from school. In both approaches, the distribution of cognitive losses is associated with countries’ educational systems. In the longer run, students who cannot learn remotely are more likely to end their education early and repeat grades. The two outcomes strongly reinforce each other in Spain, Germany and Italy. Results – robust to different specifications and the imputation of missing data – imply that countries must enhance e-learning and support disadvantaged students, but tune these measures to the characteristics of their educational systems.
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