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Impact of Education Disruption: East Asia and Pacific - March 2022

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On average, schools in the East Asia and Pacific region have been fully closed for 18 weeks, as of 28 February 2022, according to the UNESCO Global Monitoring of School Closures. By the end of February 2022, nearly a third of countries in the region saw durations of full school closures beyond the global average of 20 weeks.

The total duration of school closures (fully closed and partially closed) ranges from 0 weeks in Nauru to 87 weeks in Indonesia. Schoolchildren in the region have lost near 400 billion hours of in-person learning.

Pre-COVID, and among countries with available data, the proportion of children who can read a simple text ranged from 2 per cent in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic to 82 per cent in China. A growing body of evidence shows substantial losses and worsening inequalities in learning outcomes as a result of COVID related school closures. Under a pessimistic scenario, students in the region could lose an estimated 0.9 learning-adjusted years of schooling. In Indonesia, students are predicted to lose up to 11 points on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) reading scale and 249 dollars in future individual earnings due to the four-month closure period from 24 March 2020 to the end of July 2020. In Cambodia, an analysis of the Grade 6 national learning assessment results supported by UNICEF revealed the proportion of low achievers who failed to meet the basic proficiency level increased from 34 per cent to 45 per cent in Khmer language and from 49 per cent to 74 per cent in math between 2016 and 2021. School closures in the region have long-term implications for its learners: current learners in East Asia and Pacific could stand to lose close to 6 trillion dollars in future earnings.