Covid closure had big learning impact on primary school students: Study

Express News Service
BENGALURU: The prolonged closure of schools due to Covid has had a significant negative impact on the learning levels of children. The loss in learning is both in terms of curriculum they would have learnt had the schools remained open and the lessons forgotten from previous years, reveals an extensive study — ‘Loss of Learning during the Pandemic’ — by Azim Premji University.

The study covered 16,067 primary schoolchildren across five states and found that on an average, 92 per cent of children have lost at least one specific language ability from the previous year across all classes. These abilities include describing a picture or their experiences orally, reading familiar words, reading with comprehension and writing simple sentences based on a picture. The study which was held in 44 districts of Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand revealed that 92 per cent of children in class 2, 89 per cent in class 3, 90 per cent in class 4, 95 per cent in Class 5 and 93 per cent in Class 6 have lost this ability.

Learning loss in mathsOn an average, 82% of children have lost at least one specific mathematical ability from the previous year across all classes. These abilities include identifying single- and two-digit numbers, performing arithmetic operations, using basic arithmetic operations for solving problems, describing 2D/3D shapes and reading and drawing inferences from data. 67% of children in class 2, 76% in class 3, 85% in class 4, 89% in class 5, and 89% in class 6 have lost at least one specific ability.

The report emphasises that the extent and nature of learning loss is serious enough to warrant action at all levels. Supplemental support, whether as bridge courses, extended hours, community-based engagements and appropriate curricular materials, will be needed to help children gain the foundational abilities when they return to school.

The baseline assessment of children’s learning levels (when schools closed in March 2020) was done based on a comprehensive analysis by relevant teachers. ‘End-line’ assessment of the same children’s proficiency in January 2021 was done by administering oral and written tests.