Large loss in studying time during the closure of schools in Switzerland in 2020

Res Soc Stratif Mobil. 2021 Feb:71:100554. doi: 10.1016/j.rssm.2020.100554. Epub 2020 Oct 8.


The majority of European, as well as many other, countries responded to the outbreak of the new coronavirus with a closure of schools and universities. The expectation of policy makers was that schools and universities would continue to provide lessons online and that students would engage in home learning. How much home learning has there been? We use nationally representative, longitudinal data on 14- to 25-year-old Swiss students to analyze the effects of school closures on studying time. Our results show that students reduced, on average, their studying time from 35 to 23 hours per week. This reduction was stronger for students in secondary school age than for students older than 18. Contrary to our expectations, these reductions in studying time did not vary between male and female students. In addition, children from families with highly educated parents reduced their studying time in absolute terms more than children from families with low educated parents. In relative terms, reductions in children's studying time did not vary by parental education. We also found some variation in the reduction in studying time across the three linguistic regions in Switzerland. Taken together, our findings show that studying time was considerably reduced during the closure of schools. We therefore conclude by suggesting political measures that can compensate for the loss in studying time a generation of Swiss students experienced between March and July 2020.

Keywords: Coronavirus; Education; School closure; Studying time.