Covid-19 Learning Loss and Recovery: Panel Data Evidence from India
We use a panel survey of ~19,000 primary-school-aged children in rural Tamil Nadu to study ‘learning loss’ after COVID-19-induced school closures, and the pace of recovery after schools reopened. Students tested in December 2021 (18 months after school closures) displayed learning deficits of ~0.7σ standard deviations in math and ~0.34σ standard deviations in language compared to identically-aged students in the same villages in 2019. Two-thirds of this deficit was made up within 6 months after school reopening. Further, while learning loss was regressive, the recovery was progressive. A government-run after-school remediation program contributed ~24% of the cohort-level recovery, and likely aided the progressive recovery.