Considerations About the Importance of Education After the First Wave of COVID-19

Conference: The Barcelona Conference on Education (BCE2022)
Title: Considerations About the Importance of Education After the First Wave of COVID-19
Stream: Educational Research, Development & Publishing
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Cristina Vilaplana-Prieto, University of Murcia, Spain


While previous studies refer to the impact of the pandemic over academic performance or continuity of studies, this paper will focus on the variable "importance given to education". 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 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. It would be necessary to take advantage of the return to face-to-face teaching and facilitate families' ability to re-evaluate education.

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