CREB - Center for Research in Economics and Business

Learning Losses from COVID-19

Project members:
Hamna Ahmed, Lahore School of Economics,
Ijaz Bajwa, Oxford University Press,
Sadia Hussain, Lahore School of Economics and
Kate Vyborny, Duke University

The importance of human capital development as a means to sustainable growth is well documented. Owing to COVID-19, there was a prolonged closure of schools between March and September, 2020. During this period, the pandemic caused a worsening of the economic situation for an average low/middle income household. Coupled with reduction in parental investment in health and education of their children, these effects are expected to extend over the long run. In this study, we explore the extent of learning loss, identify areas where losses are most profound and test novels ways to facilitate catch up in learning. Such insights can aid education policy for public schools and low-cost private schools, improve education outcomes and promote sustainable economic growth. Using test score data for 5000 secondary school students for before and after the lockdown; we aim to understand how learning loss correlated to (i) baseline learning levels; (ii) parents’ education and compensatory activities during the school closure period and (iii) whether there are particular topics that were subject to more loss, requiring dedicated targeting by teachers for re-building concepts in those areas. Based on these findings, we propose a light touch intervention to inform adjustment in the teacher’s instructional focus and time for mitigating learning losses due to the pandemic.