A World Bank survey has revealed that 45% of school-aged household members (aged 5-18 years) have not engaged in any education or learning activities since mid-March.
The survey that revealed this is part of a World Bank global effort to support countries in their efforts to monitor the impacts of COVID-19.
The Nigeria COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey (COVID-19 NLPS) 2020 has revealed that 45% of school-aged household members have not engaged in any education or learning activities since mid-March.
The 6th round of a planned 12 rounds of the COVID-19 NLPS of households in Nigeria was implemented by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) between October 9-24, 2020 and had 2 key innovations.
The first innovation, and relevant in this context, was to collect specific information on education for up to six school-aged household members (5-18 years). This allows for more detailed individual-level analysis of school-aged household members, making it possible to:
- Verify the trends from previous rounds that were reported for all children collectively (rather than individually).
- Examine differences in school attendance and engagement in learning activities across key individual characteristics such as sex and age.
The second innovation was to ask households directly about their perceptions of and willingness to engage in testing and vaccinations for COVID-19.
- School attendance in October 2020 was substantially lower than in January/February 2019. Among household members aged 5-18 years, 59% were attending school in October 2020 compared to 74% in January/February 2019.
- The main reason that school-aged household members did not attend school in October 2020 –reported for 57% of those who were not attending school –was that schools were still closed due to the coronavirus restrictions.
- Among household members who were school-aged in both January/February 2019 and October 2020, about 50% were attending school both in January/February 2019 and in October 2020, while around 9% reported attending school only in January/February 2019 but not in October 2020.
- The share of male school-aged household members who attended school was almost 17 percentage points lower in October 2020 than in January/February 2019.
- The share of female school-aged household members who attended school was around 14 percentage points lower.
- The drop in attendance was larger in urban areas (25 percentage points lower) than in rural areas (12 percentage points lower).
- The main reason that school-aged members did not attend school in October 2020 –reported for 57% of those who were not attending school – was that schools were still closed due to the coronavirus restrictions.
- Of those who were not attending for this reason, almost all (99.9%) are planning to attend school after their schools reopen.
- Additionally, around 27% of those school-aged household members in the oldest age group (15-18 years old) who were not attending school reported that the main reason for non-attendance was that they were awaiting admission.
The opinions and implication
The fact that 45% of school-aged household members have not engaged in leaning activities since mid-March emphasizes the importance of helping children catch-up for the time they missed at school.
Thus, it is imperative that schools resume as soon as possible in order to ensure that students in general, especially those not currently learning from home catch-up quickly.
This is also key considering that there are certain barriers to learning from home. Nairametrics, while discussing the recently concluded Nobel Week Dialogue pointed to some of these concerns.
The winner of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2018, Frances Arnold, noted that students can learn at home, but not all the time. She cited that science, for example, is all about collaboration and learning from experience and experiments, and that’s pretty hard to do from home.
Also, while commenting on the future of education, Prof Asha Kanwar, CEO of the intergovernmental Commonwealth of Learning, said parents could play a key role in schooling, while academic and computer scientist, Daphne Koller pointed out that not all parents had the time or skills for that task, which could further deepen inequities in education.
These points appear to confirm that quick resumption of students is key to the development of students going forward.
What you should know
- Though school closure is the main reason why school-aged household members were not attending school across all consumption quintiles, lack of money remains an important reason among individuals from the poorest households (16% of those not attending).
- Those school-aged household members who report that they are currently awaiting admission predominantly come from the richest households (27% of those not attending), perhaps reflecting the better prospects for higher levels of educational attainment for individuals from richer households.
- In April 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), with support from the World Bank, launched the COVID-19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey (NLPS) – a monthly survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,950 households, to monitor the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other shocks.
- World Bank teams from the Development Data Group and the Poverty and Equity Global Practice provided technical support in conducting the survey.
- The first round (baseline) of the survey was conducted in April/May 2020, during which a federally mandated lockdown was in full effect. The survey is part of a World Bank global effort to support countries in their data collection efforts to monitor the impacts of COVID-19.