Closed schools to punish the Brazilian economy more

Closed schools punish economy
School in Londrina. Photo: Isaac Fontana/Shutterstock

The total or partial closure of schools due to the pandemic will cause a great loss of earnings for young Brazilians throughout the course of their lives. A report published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) talks about the “scars” of the health crisis — and places Brazil as the country with the third-biggest losses among the G20.

The Brazilian Report had already in November written about the “deep social scars” left by school closures. 

Per the IMF, the average earnings of Brazilian students will be 9.1 percent lower over their lifetimes due to school closures. Brazil appears tied with Saudi Arabia and only has better results than Indonesia (-9.7 percent) and Mexico (-9.9 percent).

“Several G20 economies have seen a drop in test scores (e.g. Brazil, India, Germany, US, UK). Furthermore, in many emerging markets and developing economies, school closures have led to a considerable drop in student enrollment at all levels of education and risks leaving many students permanently out of school,” states the report.

Only last year, school shutdowns in Brazil lasted on average 279 days due to the coronavirus pandemic. With that, the percentage of children and teenagers of school age attending class dropped among those aged 5 to 13 and the overall number of enrolled children in private and public schools plummeted.

If not mitigated by political action, warns the IMF, this damage to countries’ human capital will have a lasting impact on production and inequality. And Brazil’s experience, the report says, “suggests conditioning cash transfers on school attendance can help boost enrollment.”

School attendance among children and teenagers is one of the requirements for a family in poverty or extreme poverty to be entitled to receive government aid such as the Auxílio Brasil.