Concern about how school closures affect children

Just because people all over the world are now spending a great deal of time at home as a result of the corona crisis this doesn't mean that every family is growing closer together: reports from China point to an increase in physical and sexual domestic violence, while in Europe hotlines are already reporting a spike in calls. But even beyond violence, the lockdown will hit some children harder than others.

Open/close all quotes
Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

When what's left of stability collapses

Schools and universities in Sweden have now also been closed, and daycare centres are to follow. Dagens Nyheter reminds us that there are children who will suffer greatly as a result:

“In addition to children who live in violent families, there are also those whose parents suffer from mental illness and their own experiences of abuse. For these children, pre-school and school are usually a refuge. Here they get a little bit of stability in life - and there are adults there who keep track of things. Now this security is being taken away from them. The pandemic will bring far-reaching restrictions to life as we know it. There is no alternative; it's a matter of survival. But every decision has a number of other negative consequences that we must also address and treat.”

Falter (AT) /

Left behind for good

School closures only increase the risk of children from socially disadvantaged families losing out, writes columnist Melisa Erkurt in Falter:

“In general students in their puberty have a harder time motivating themselves to study. If on top of that their parents aren't behind them and they have to wait for hours for their brother to get off the computer, they will have practically no chance of getting a good education in these times of coronavirus. The students who will be able to progress are exactly the ones who generally perform well at school: those from middle-class families. During these weeks or months at home, pupils who are already lagging will fall even further behind. ... [Austria's] Education Minister Faßmann must present a clear plan, a uniform approach that also reaches children who do not come from educated backgrounds.”

Lapin Kansa (FI) /

Unequal conditions for distance learning

Enforced home learning will jeopardise equality in education, Lapin Kansa notes:

“The switch to distance learning is no small matter, even if we live in the digital age in which children and young people in particular feel completely at home. What is problematic is that neither pupils nor teachers have the same prospects in the switch to distance learning. Some are already familiar with the procedure, while for others this is the first time. What's more, not everyone has the same equipment or Internet connection. The strength of comprehensive schools is that there all students are equal. That is not the case now, however.”