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Online classes cause surge in school dropouts, increase socioeconomic gaps — data

One of the artworks created by Holon high school student, Shani Segev, over the course of the coronavirus for an exhibit, Zoom In, opening January 20, 2021. (courtesy, Shani Segev)
One of the artworks created by Holon high school student, Shani Segev, over the course of the coronavirus for an exhibit, Zoom In, opening January 20, 2021. (courtesy, Shani Segev)

A year into the coronavirus pandemic, the results of specially designed tests unveil the extent of the havoc the repeated lockdowns and the move to online studies have wreaked on the education system.

The number of students having difficulties in writing, math and other studies has increased up to fourfold, the number of students who cut off all contact with their school has increased fivefold, and the dropout rate has tripled, according to a senior education official familiar with the test results who spoke to Zman Yisrael, The Times of Israel’s Hebrew-language sister site.

The situation has been worse in lower socioeconomic communities than in more affluent areas, increasing the gap between those who better managed to adapt to the educational and technological challenges of online learning and those who couldn’t.

The largest toll has been exacted on grade 1 students, who went straight from kindergarten to online studies, without getting to know how a school functions and without meeting their teachers or classmates, says Dr. Eli Vinokur, vice president of the Gordon Academic College of Education.

Vinokur tells Zman Yisrael that the requirement for basic reading and writing skills has been postponed by the Education Ministry to grade 2.

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