Asia’s Kids Risk $1.25 Trillion in Income From Closed Schools

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Widespread school closures amid the pandemic will likely reduce students’ future productivity and wages, the Asian Development Bank said, estimating the present value of prospective lost earnings at $1.25 trillion for developing Asia.

The region’s students, who on average have lost nearly one-third of the academic year to school closures, could see a 2.4% decline in their future earnings, or about $180 a year, the ADB said in its Asian Development Outlook report released Wednesday. The income loss would be equivalent to 5.4% of the region’s 2020 output.

Only a handful of economies managed to keep schools open continuously. In South Asia, where closures have been longest, students lost more than half a year of learning, the ADB said. Students in East Asia lost 39% of a year in learning, while those in Southeast Asia lost 35%.

“Remote learning strategies were deployed in most economies to keep students learning,” the Manila-based lender said. “But many students are constrained by access to resources like computers and the internet. This has limited their ability to learn when at home.”

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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