/ 16 September 2021

SENATOR Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday reiterated his warning that the prolonged closure of schools could cause education and economic scars.

He cited a 2020 report by the Asian Development Bank which said that the value cost of face-to-face closure was estimated at P1.9 trillion for School Year 2020-2021 or an equivalent of over 10 percent of Gross Domestic Product.

“It’s not only scarring the learner himself or herself, but also scarring the economy through productivity losses,” Gatchalian said.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said that the cost of yearlong school closures could be higher than initially estimated.

The National Economic and Development Authority clarified that because of the yearlong school closures, productivity lost in the next 40 years will amount to P11 trillion.

Gatchalian cited other findings of the ADB, which reported that for K-12 students, the net present value of lost productivity is P1.68 trillion.

The ADB also said that assuming 50 percent or approximately 200,000 of 410,000 teachers and personnel in private schools lost their jobs, wage loss for School Year 2020-2021 was estimated at P16 billion.

Considering that at least one adult had to supervise a student for home-based learning, 11 percent of the workforce had to stop working, which cost the economy P225 billion for one school year.

“I believe that some of our students will not go back to school because last year, we lost close to 2 million students who dropped out of school, including the Alternative Learning System. My fear is that these students will not go back to school anymore, creating a huge scar in terms of our workforce,” Gatchalian said.