The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Considerations about the Importance of Education after the First Wave of Covid-19

Cristina Vilaplana-Prieto, University of Murcia (Spain)


While previous studies refer to the impact of the pandemic over academic performance, continuity of studies or teaching abilities, this paper will focus on the variable "importance given to education". For this purpose, we compare society’s perspective regarding the importance of education, at the country level and according to the individual situation, both at a pre-pandemic moment (year 2019) and after the first wave of the pandemic (summer 2020). We implement a difference in differences strategy, using representative survey data from 28 European countries: the Eurobarometers 91.5 (June-July 2019) and 93.1 (July-August 2020), which allows us to introduce the regional relative mortality in 2019 or in 2020 with respect to the average 2015-2018. The results show that the pandemic has provoked a deep rift in society, generating two different worlds. One “world” composed by the unemployed, immigrants, those still in school, and those from working class backgrounds, who think that education is no longer one of the country's fundamental concerns. Even more troubling is the fact that at the personal level, in households with children, the unemployed and working class feel that they have other more important concerns. The other “world”, made up by the more educated, express an increase in their personal concern for education, Parents with better economic status and more stable jobs have been able to invest more in their children's education during the pandemic and have become more involved in their children's learning. In countries/regions where the scourge of the pandemic has been more severe, citizens may have a perception that the public authorities have prioritized other public policies to the detriment of the education system. On the other hand, the level of personal concern has remained almost unchanged, regardless of relative mortality level, in households without children. In households with co-resident children, there is an increase in concern associated with an overmortality level up to 120% (with respect to the 2015-2018 average). Nevertheless, we appreciate a decrease in the degree concern for the highest overmortality levels, when education has taken a back seat, overwhelmed by other concerns.

Keywords: Covid-19, E-Learning


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