#education #children #youth #holidays #SDGs

The length of summer holidays varies greatly among countries, from 3 weeks in South Korea to 3 months in Italy & Turkey. Experts say the long summer holidays have problematic, und unequal effects.

Many parents suddenly find their schedules and budget stretched, as they rely on the term-time service that school provides to their children. In summer, free school meals stop & extra child care kicks in, an extra burden particularly for poor families.

But "summer learning loss" could be more problematic and amplify unequal effects than this. Many children may forget what they were taught the previous year after returning from the long break, with poorer children and/or in poorer countries being worse affected. A study in 2007 in Baltimore, Maryland, claimed that summer learning loss could account for up to two-thirds of the "achievement gap" between rich and poor children by the age of 14-15. More recent American research, however, argues that early-childhood development might play a bigger role.

At the same time, well-off children often make good use of summer to broaden their minds & burnish their college applications at pricey camps or doing summer jobs in famous enterprise and/or organizations found through connections.

School and the society should help the rest catch up during the summer.

The Economists discussed several suggestions suggested by experts, e.g.

  • Extending school years: but not going to another extreme like in South Korea: their pupils do superbly in exams but often feel miserable. Another objection is that it would strain public-education budgets, while teachers, who cherish their long breaks, would doubtless object unless they were paid more.
  • Spreading holidays to other time of the year
  • More summer holiday activities supported by taxpayers and/or philanthropists

Summer learning need not be expensive, even simple interventions like posting reading materials to homes, or sending parents text messages reminding them to make sure their children are reading, can reduce summer learning loss, said David Quinn of the University of Southern California.

Association 3 Herissons is dedicated on children and youth education on nature conservation and sustainable development. We'll do our best to explore better ways to help with the unequal effects of long summer holidays. And we welcome discussion and collaboration with like-minded stakeholders.

For more details please refer to Economists (August 11-17, 2018) - International column.