The OECD reports that during the lockdowns, schools in more than 188 countries were closed. Efforts seeking to reduce learning-loss included online classes or podcasts. However, in many countries and even rural areas of otherwise developed countries, internet access and thus access to learning material showed to be a problem. As a consequence, the crisis leads to serious inequlities in education. Inequalities are further concerning:
- social class and income
- involvement and dedication of parents
- health of individual students but also family members that need to be protected
Beyond educational concerns, the UN warns about the impact on student's social life. By not attending classes on campus, students do not engage as much with other children and also potentially miss out on services provided by institutions, such as regular meals. It is further estimated that the lack of higher student engagement will result in many dropouts in the long run. Thus, the OECD advises to actively fight student disengagament (see below).
Many students struggle with the impact Covid-19 regulations had on their education. In a study conducted in Poland, students reported that online education during the lockdown was chaotic and unprepared which adds on the uncertainty already caused by the virus. In that same study, students also reported that they had too many tasks to complete and felt stressed by online education. These feelings can seriously affect children's mental health. In Germany, students were frequently required to wear a mask during classes which imposes additional challenges.
For teachers, the consequences of Covid-19 demand high levels of flexibility and creativity in planning and constantly adapting teaching to the regulations. For many, time normally spend on teaching now is spend to ensure health standards. Especially for teachers of younger children, this is very demanding. Further,
many teachers claim that they like to teach and interact with their class and often don't feel that online classes can sufficiently replace that. As such, many teachers find themselves in different jobs than intended.
Many parents feel overwhelmed by the additional responsibility to teach their children. Next to their regular work, the task to supervise and support children in their studies becomes a big challenge. In the UK, parents even reported signs of burn outs resulting from this mental stress. For many, the feeling of not being able to help their children sufficiently leads to worries about the kid's education. As such, 65% of adults of G7 countries stated that they are concerned about their own or their children's education.