The sudden impact of the coronavirus pandemic had an impact not only on the daily life of students, but also on their academic results. Schools are closed for several months. Studies show that the impact of a closed school will have long-term consequences. In addition to lower skills and repeating grades, low education can also be determined. Pupils with low performance were particularly affected, whose motivation to learn again decreased significantly. The question arises: How can educational deficits be corrected? Image source: © Giulio_Fornasar for fotolia.com
The problem that arises above all is that there is not only greater inequality between students, but also between schools. In fact, 38% of teachers feel that students are experiencing educational gaps and learning deficits, and that this could have a huge impact on their future school careers and motivation. Right now, learning success depends on parental support, but this aspect again causes greater inequality because educational success is so driven by social background. Due to the high level of immigration in recent years, this has become even more of a problem. Children and young people are dependent on their parents for support due to school closures, which means that educational justice takes an even further backseat.
Eliminate educational deficits through digitization
The solution here was to acquire and equip students with digital devices. Given that schools are equipped differently and the social background predetermines the possibility of purchasing digital devices, this does not yet apply across the board in Germany. According to a study by the German School Barometer, most schools work with digital devices, but successful face-to-face teaching often fails due to a lack of equipment. An important point that came to the fore especially during the pandemic is the digitization of schools. In the case of distance learning, students and teachers would have the opportunity to establish contact. 33% of teachers surveyed said their school is ready for digital learning but slow to adopt digital devices.
training and mentoring programs
Children and young people who already have educational gaps need to be given special support in the future. Educational gaps should be addressed through tutoring. These should take place in the afternoon or on Saturdays with additional learning material. Mentoring programs and cross-school, systematic learning opportunities that should take place during school holidays or long weekends should also be used. Such programs could quickly and effectively correct educational deficits. Although there are high costs involved, it is still the cheaper route because the costs of missing education and learning gaps cannot be caught up after a certain point, which will suffer not only for students but also for the labor market.
The costs of support measures are estimated at up to 1.54 billion euros. Since an exact cost estimate cannot be made here, the next step is to resume face-to-face instruction as soon as possible. Above all, it provides the best insight into students’ learning deficits, so that education offers can be tailored more specifically and where the need is missed. Surveys of learning status could also be included for guidance. The Hamburg-based “Competencies Determine” (KERMIT) program conducts these study surveys and could help provide an overview of educational gaps. Tests are used in this program to regularly assess students from all grades.
The full study can be found on the website Institute of German Economy Cologne.
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