Learning poverty in India leads to huge loss of jobs and GDP; South Asia is likely to suffer the worst

The study estimates that income losses from school closures have caused GDP to fall in almost all economies, including sub-regions of Asia. Globally, the decline amounts to 0.19% of GDP in 2024, 0.64% in 2028 and 1.11% in 2030. In absolute terms, school closures during COVID-19 would cost the global economy $943 billion in 2030. cost dollars. Overall, economies with sizeable populations of schoolchildren and young students in rural areas — and those in the poorest and second-largest quintile — are hit hardest, as they lack access to the stable internet connections needed for online learning. Even if the proportion of unskilled workers in the labor force is high, the losses in learning and earnings are significant. This is because a significant proportion of the affected population will migrate to unskilled labour.

Accounting for skilled workers, global job losses amount to declines of 0.05% in 2024, 0.25% in 2026 and 0.75% in 2030. The study estimates that school closures will impact about 5.44 million people worldwide Qualified workers will be denied employment in 2030. Also measured in terms of absolute costs, the wage losses compared to the baseline scenario total 94.86 billion US dollars.

For unskilled workers, the global employment decline is estimated at 0.22% in 2025, 0.51% in 2027 and 1.15% in 2030. Around 35.69 million people around the world would have become unskilled workers if the pandemic had not caused schools to close. In terms of cost, lost wages in 2030 total $121.54 billion.

The study found that in economies with a significant rural student population, those in the poorest and second wealth quintiles are hit hardest. Because a lack of stable internet connections and online education hinders their learning opportunities. Loss of learning and earnings are also significant in economies where the share of unskilled workers in the total labor force is high. This is because school closures will push a significant portion of affected students into unskilled jobs.

Against this background, the study made three policy recommendations on measures to mitigate these impacts while building a more resilient education system. These recommendations are: support learning recovery; Invest in education and skills; and embrace digital transformation in education.

(IPA service)

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