Learning Disruption, Digital Divide, and COVID-19 Management Measures in India
13 Pages Posted: 27 Aug 2020
Date Written: August 21, 2020
School closures as a preventive strategy for the spread of COVID-19 has led to a learning disruption among children in most countries. We study the efficacy of a set of pandemic management measures (PMM) adopted by the Government of India in dampening the adverse impact of COVID-19 on children’s education. By adopting a simple theoretical framework, we conduct comparative statics to analyze the effects of policies such as strict social distancing, provision of online classes, and stimulus packages on the net benefit from education. Our study suggests that while mandates of school closure can diminish the adverse effect on the net benefit from education, keeping children away from school for extended periods may hamper their learning potential. We posit that provision of online classes can aid the recovery in decline in net benefits. However, due to the prevalence of digital divide among students, ones facing acute inaccessibility of online classes experience a greater disruption in learning than their peers, who do not face such technological barriers. With the implementation of a targeted stimulus package, learning disruption tends to be lower for technologically deprived students. From a policy perspective, we recommend that a targeted education stimulus package to prevent learning disruption has the potential to decelerate the decline in net benefits from education in times of a crisis.
Keywords: COVID-19, digital divide, household, learning disruption, online classes, pandemic, social distancing
JEL Classification: D1, I2, I28, I38, J24
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation