Some young children have forgotten how to eat with a knife and fork and others have regressed back to diapers as the coronavirus pandemic and related school closures take a toll on young peoples' learning, the U.K.'s education watchdog has found.
The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, known as Ofsted, published Tuesday five reports based on findings from more than 900 visits to education and social care providers across England since September. Some of the children most affected by the disruption of the pandemic were those in their earliest years of education with working parents who “experienced the double whammy of less time with parents and less time with other children,” chief inspector Amanda Spielman said.
She said teachers reported some toilet-trained students needing to use diapers again and “others who had forgotten some basic skills they had mastered, such as eating with a knife and fork – not to mention the loss of early progress in words and numbers.”
Among older children, some had fallen behind in math, struggled with literacy and concentration or lost physical fitness, the report said. Others showed signs of mental distress, which showed up in increased eating disorders and self-harm.
While most children have lost ground in their learning to various degrees since March, some have coped well because they spent quality time with parents and caregivers, Spielman said.
Schools and childcare settings were closed to most children in March as the coronavirus pandemic first hit Britain hard. Since September, all children in England have attended in-person classes. Schools and universities were allowed to stay open under a new lockdown in England that started last week.
Meanwhile, in Turkey, many students still continue to receive remote education. First-graders were the first to start in-person classes in September, and gradually, the country rolled out in-person classes for other grades, in line with the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person education has been limited to two days a week and gradually increased depending on the data. In-person classes are not mandatory, but students are required to attend online live classes via a digital education network set up by the Education Ministry if they skip school.
However, this digital initiative has disproportionately affected poorer populations and students without access to computers or the internet. Education Minister Ziya Selçuk announced that 20,000 Education Information Network (EBA) centers had been established in rural areas to give less fortunate students the equipment and facilities to study and follow classes.