Most of us have been living with closed schools and some version of lockdown for almost a year and a half now.
Most of us have been living with closed schools and some version of lockdown for almost a year and a half now. For all the reimagining of education in the 21st century, nobody predicted that the greatest disruption of all would come from a virus. As education policymakers all over the world grapple with distance learning provision and safe school reopening, they will no doubt also be thinking about what the pandemic means for education in the longer term. This blog looks at a few ways COVID-19 is likely to shape the future of education. For starters, there’s going to be a lot less money. In the wake of a health crisis,education budgets as a share of national spending are likely to be squeezed. To see what the impact of past economic shocks has been on education budgets, we analysed education spending after the global financial crisis. In lower-middle income countries (LMICs) we observe a large dip in education spending in the immediate aftermath of the crisis that did not recover for several years. Millions of students may not return to schools and colleges. Despite huge gains in enrollment during the last two decades, 268 million children were already out of school when the pandemic struck. When schools reopen, millions more may not make it back. Children whose households have suffered economic shocks are particularly vulnerable. Also, The education markets will be disrupted, putting strain on the public sector. In normal times, the education market exists in some sort of equilibrium. But now the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to rip through this existing education market equilibrium. While parental demand for education is unlikely to change, and so in the long-run the sector may return to its previous market share, the short- and medium-term impacts could be catastrophic for children and for the millions of employers who are employed in the low-cost private school sector.