Prolonged School Closure in Pandemic

Social isolation disturbs students psychologically

Says BIGD, BRAC JPGSPH study

Staff Correspondent

27 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Prolonged closure of educational institutions during the corona pandemic has affected adolescent students psychologically as social isolation has caused boredom and mental exhaustions in their daily life.

BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD) and BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health (BRAC JPGSPH) disclosed the findings from their study conducted between August and September 2020.

‘Education-related uncertainty’ was reported as the most common source of their anxiety, according to their report.

They have reduced daily food consumption and compromised nutritional intake as a coping strategy adopted by their families to ease economic crisis caused by the pandemic, the study also finds.

Findings from the mixed-methods research and impact evaluation study conducted among adolescents attending grades 7 and 8 in public and semi-private schools in Chittagong and Sylhet districts.

The findings were presented at a webinar titled “Adolescent Experiences in Chittagong and Sylhet: The Adolescent Support Programme and COVID-19 Impact” on Monday.

It also finds evidence of high educational aspirations among boys and girls.

Findings also revealed that adolescents have internalised the belief that education is a social good and has intrinsic value, and are aware and concerned about the quality of education.

The study was conducted under the Gender and Adolescence: Global Evidence (GAGE) programme, funded by UK Aid from the UK government.

“As education sector envision schools reopening the most important question for us right now is how we can capitalise on adolescent productivity to take advantage of the demographic dividend,” commented TM Asaduzzaman, education specialist & team leader of South Asia Education Global Practice of World Bank.

“Whenever we decide to reopen schools – and I think we should think of that sooner rather than later – we’ll be starting from a situation where there is a huge backlog of learning loss , especially among the poorer segments (of adolescents)” said Dr Imran Matin, executive director, BRAC Institute of Governance and Development (BIGD), BRAC University. 

The psychosocial wellbeing of adolescents was another key concern raised during the discussion.

Md Sayedul Islam, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Children Affairs said they have been offering free daily counseling by psychologists to the students from April 2020 to overcome the stress.

“Longitudinal qualitative data from such studies is key to informing programme designs and policies,” Dr emphasized Dr Sabina Faiz Rashid, Dean and Professor, BRAC James P. Grant School of Public Health.


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