World Bank, UNESCO, and UNICEF have projected that the generation of students now risks losing $17 trillion in lifetime earnings in present value, or about 14 per cent of today’s global Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as a result of COVID-19 pandemic-related school closures.
The new projection reveals that the impact is more severe than previously thought, and far exceeds the $10 trillion estimates released in 2020.
The ‘State of the Global Education Crisis: A path to Recovery’ report shows that in low- and middle-income countries, the share of children living in Learning Poverty, already 53 per cent before the pandemic – could potentially reach 70 per cent given the long school closures and the ineffectiveness of remote learning to ensure full learning continuity during school closures.
“The COVID-19 crisis brought education systems across the world to a halt,” said Jaime Saavedra, World Bank Global Director for Education.
“Now, 21 months later, schools remain closed for millions of children, and others may never return to school. The loss of learning that many children are experiencing is morally unacceptable.
“And the potential increase of Learning Poverty might have a devastating impact on future productivity, earnings, and well-being for this generation of children and youth, their families, and the world’s economies.”