The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children's learning and wellbeing: Evidence from India

J Dev Econ. 2023 Sep:164:103133. doi: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2023.103133. Epub 2023 Jun 14.


We study the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated school closure on primary school children's learning and mental wellbeing in Assam, India. Using a comprehensive dataset that tracked and repeatedly surveyed approximately 5000 children across 200 schools between 2018 and 2022, we find that children lost the equivalent of nine months of learning in mathematics and eleven months in language, during the pandemic. Children lacking resources and parental support experienced the largest losses. Regular practice, teacher interaction, and technology were associated with less learning loss. Over the same period, children's psychological wellbeing improved. Our research provides valuable insights for designing post-emergency programs.

Keywords: COVID-19; India; Learning loss; Primary school; Psychological wellbeing; School closure.