Gatchalian warns of education, economic ‘scars’ because of school closures

Gatchalian warns of education, economic ‘scars’ because of school closures

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA — At a briefing of the Development Budget Coordinating
Committee (DBCC) on the proposed 2022 National Expenditure Program
(NEP), Senator Win Gatchalian flagged both the education and economic
scars that will result from prolonged school closures because of the
COVID-19 pandemic.

Gatchalian, who has been pushing for the pilot testing of limited
face-to-face classes in low-risk areas cited a 2020 report by the
Asian Development Bank (ADB) said that the present value cost of
face-to-face closure is estimated at P1.9 trillion for School Year
2020-2021 or an equivalent of over 10% of Gross Domestic Product
(GDP).

“It’s not only scarring the learner himself or herself but also
scarring the economy through productivity losses,” Gatchalian said of
the prolonged school closures.

According to Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua, the National
Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) clarified these figures with
the ADB stated that the cost of yearlong school closures could
be higher than initially estimated.

For its part, NEDA estimates that because of yearlong school closures,
productivity lost in the next 40 years will amount to P11 trillion.

Gatchalian also cited other findings of the ADB, which reported that
for K-12 students, the net present value of lost productivity is P1.68
trillion. The ADB also said that assuming 50% or approximately 200,000
of 410,000 teachers and personnel in private schools lost their jobs,
wage loss for School Year 2020-2021 is estimated at P16 billion.

Considering that at least one adult had to supervise a student for
home-based learning, 11% of the workforce had to stop working, which
cost the economy a total of P225 billion for one school year, said the
ADB.

“I believe that some of our students will not go back to school
because last year, we lost close to 2 million students who dropped out
of school, including the Alternative Learning System. My fear is that
these students will not go back to school anymore, creating a huge
scar in terms of our workforce” added the Chairman of the Senate
Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic also accelerated the utilization of
technology, Gatchalian also raised the need for programs such as
workers’ upskilling to proactively support the transition of sectors,
especially micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to the
post-COVID economy. (ai/mtvn)

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