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May 18, 2022

School Closure Caused by COVID Has Significant Impact on Children’s Learning Capacity

School closure as a result of the COVID pandemic has had a significant impact on the learning capacity of children in the Caribbean. Today, the World Bank joined regional officials in a webinar to share information coming out of surveys done in the region. The studies have shown that learning problems in the Caribbean, which were already there prior to COVID, were exacerbated by the pandemic. Children in the Caribbean will enjoy only fifty-five percent of their productive capacity by the age of eighteen, the information suggests. Countries, like Belize, that had their schools closed longer, have suffered more than the others in the Caribbean who remained opened longer. Here’s World Bank representative Tim Johnston sharing some of those findings.


Tim Johnston, World Bank Representative

“For the Caribbean and this is just the Caribbean countries, you can see from each country, which ones were fully closed – that’s the red at the bottom, one that were mostly closed, partially closed in the yellow or open, which is the green. You can see quite a range from countries like Belize, Jamaica, Guyana, which had their schools closed a substantial portion of the time, to some countries like Bermuda, Aruba and Curacao that were open much more of the time. So you have a lot of variation in between. So what happened as a result? Well we know that attendance rate, even with virtual online, learning dropped, compared to prior to the pandemic. And if you compare the beginning of the pandemic just over a year later, May or July of 2021, our teams have estimated about one in four students were not actively engaged in any learning activity just over a year later, despite the availability of online learning otherwise. And we also see significant inequalities among students and among different groups that were just proportionally affected by tenets with disadvantaged students particularly facing challenges with learning and attendance. And if we look at the graph on the left, you can see some examples in the dark blue was the attendance rates before the pandemic and afterwards in the light blue was during the pandemic.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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