School disruption could cost the US economy $ 15.3 trillion – OECD

Students wearing protective masks raise their hands in the classroom, as the teacher gives a lesson remotely at a public charter school in Provo, Utah, on Thursday, August 20, 2020.

George Fray | Bloomberg via Getty Image

The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has warned of children’s schooling in the wake of the coronovirus epidemic, which could mean that global economic growth is on average 1.5% lower for the rest of the century.

The Intergovernmental Economic Organization stated that this projected loss of GDP, which measures economic growth, would equal a total economic loss of US $ 15.3 trillion.

This prediction assumed that American students recorded a “corona-inspired skill” of one tenth of one standard deviation, and on the basis that all peers returned to previous levels thereafter.

The OECD paper, published on Tuesday and citing third-party data, estimated that students losing one-third of the school year would have a long-term impact on the global economy.

It was hypothesized that this loss of time in the classroom would lead to loss of skills, and this, in turn, would negatively affect productivity. As a result, the total cost of missed schooling may be 69% of the current GDP for the current country, the OECD said.

To be sure, this prediction assumed that only the current group of students would be affected by the closure and that future students would resume normal schooling.

The OECD said the decrease in economic growth could be “proportionately higher” if schools were slow to return to “previous levels of performance”.

For months, most children around the world have been homeschooled, with many schools open only to children of key workers. However, there have been concerns that epidemics may have already expanded learning gaps in this period of homeschooling.

The OECD stated that where teachers have made concerted efforts to sustain learning during this period of homeschooling, children have had to rely more on their own resources to study remotely. Meanwhile, teachers have had to adapt their methods to educate students in which they cannot train.

One suggestion in the paper was to continue to build on the infrastructure for distance education, in order to limit further failures in education in the absence of a widely available vaccine.

Beyond the epidemic, the OECD stated that “there are clear benefits to students in expanding their learning time and opportunities outside the school gate by being able to learn using a variety of distance learning approaches.”


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