Four in five children in Europe “worried” about development amid pandemic

GoStudent and Kantar researched the subject by interviewing 12,000 parents and children across Europe and the UK.

Children have a more pessimistic view of than their parents about the learning gaps caused by the pandemic – boys fared worse than girls, with 35% and 32% having issues respectively.

Some 68% of students in Germany and 65% in France experienced the most learning gaps in one or more subjects, followed by students in Austria (60%), Italy (59%) and Spain (57%).

Parents overwhelmingly cited that the issue during the pandemic was a lack of social connection, as figures showed that 55% of parents said it was the top issue and 60% of children said the same – 70% overall said in-person learning was preferred.

When it came to the future, Austrian parents were the most pessimistic – 68% of those surveyed said they felt learning gaps would continue to be an issue into the new year, whereas in Spain only 44% of parents said the same.

“After over a year of mandatory periods of homeschooling, the education system has been put under enormous strain,” said Felix Ohswald, co-founder and CEO of GoStudent.

“It will take time for us to measure the full impact of the pandemic’s disruption to our children’s development.”

Lower income families were much more likely to have experienced a learning gap – the most prevalent areas were large cities, with almost 40% having issues compared to 29% in rural areas.

Researchers found 46% of people from higher income households expected they would catch up on learning gaps left by the pandemic – more than double what those in lower income households expect, with only 21% optimistic they will catch up.

“It will take time for us to measure the full impact of the pandemic’s disruption”

Maths was the subject that left the most learning gaps across the board at 30%, followed by English at 18%.

The emergence of AI learning caused GoStudent and Kantar to look at the possibilities of AI learning going forward in the classroom.

British parents were the least in favour of AI being used in education, with only 33% being on board – Spanish parents were most open to the idea, with 55% in favour of the method.

Despite the pessimism around AI in Britain, and parents’ worries about the future, children are optimistic for the future, with only 15% saying they think they will struggle going forward.

“Looking at the findings, children in Britain seem optimistic for the future, which is great, but the learning gaps appearing in vital subjects like Maths and English are a real cause for concern,” Ohswald added.

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