Families between care, education and work: The effects of the pandemic on educational inequalities in Italy and Milan – Cordini – – European Journal of Education



School closures in 2020 had been a sudden and sudden occasion for many international locations in Europe. The compelled closure of faculties has nurtured the debate on the rising structural inequalities that characterise not solely the faculty itself but additionally its consumption, households and territories. On one hand, the multifaced function of the faculty has emerged; on the different hand, the flaws of a system that can’t hinder the replica of inequalities has been highlighted. Italy is already generally known as a rustic with a excessive diploma of educational inequality, the place the replica of social disadvantages by social origins is so sturdy that the possibilities for social mobility of the much less advantaged are considerably decreased. This peculiarity of the Italian system has been emphasised by the pandemic, as households and the home area are concerned in faculty actions to a better extent than common.

The lengthy-time period closure of faculties has strengthened the function of family assets. These assets embody not solely the cultural and social capital of mother and father, but additionally the digital tools, the availability of a personal area to review, the extent to which housing is overcrowded, the time at disposal for fogeys and different relations to help kids in their studying actions.

This article contributes to an understanding of how the socio-financial background has affected the educational experiences throughout the pandemic. The evaluation is empirically based mostly on the outcomes of an internet survey carried out in Milan in June 2020. The survey focused mother and father of main faculty college students and was distributed by institutional and casual channels after two months of faculty closure. We collected about 4,000 responses. Results had been re-balanced to signify completely different social lessons. The survey explored the relationships between financial and social inequalities on the one hand, and faculty and/or educational actions carried out at residence throughout the lockdown on the different. Our intention was to seize what educational and organisational assets households had been in a position to mobilise in this case, and to what extent these are unequally distributed.


On 4 March 2020, the Italian nationwide authorities established faculty closures nationally to comprise the unfold of COVID-19. On that date, 3,089 instances had been reported in Italy, of which 1,820 solely in Lombardy. This first decree established the suspension of actions for all grades and ranges of education for the subsequent fifteen days, a measure that was renewed by following decrees till the finish of the faculty yr. Eventually, faculties in Italy reopened in September 2020. Schools and households had been unprepared. After the first weeks of disorientation, faculties and households began to organise themselves because it turned evident that the closures weren’t short-term. Italy was not an remoted case as most European international locations determined to shut faculties. Nevertheless, Italy was one of the EU international locations the place closures lasted longer.

The first measures addressing explicitly and instantly the reopening of faculties had been issued at the finish of June 2020 in the Piano Scuola 2020–2021 (School Plan 2020–2021) and a Technical Report from the Civil Protection (Dipartimento della Protezione Civile, 2020): these paperwork established that early childcare companies had been to open 7 September and instruction from main to higher grades on 14 September. Before 24 June, 2020, when these paperwork had been disseminated, households had been in the darkish relating to faculty actions. This delay in organising the re-opening is related to a number of options of the Italian faculty system starting from points relating to faculty buildings, which are usually dated, to the ageing of the educating inhabitants, one of the oldest in Europe, and the massive sizes of lessons. In addition, the range of the Italian territory made the try to launch a nationwide protocol relevant to all the faculty contexts difficult.

The penalties of extended faculty closures transcend the area of education. Of course, the most evident antagonistic impact is the interruption in studying—way more dangerous for college students with deprived backgrounds since faculties signify for them the essential and typically the solely context for educational alternatives (Esping-Andersen, 2008; Sabatinelli, 2016). Also, faculties present particularly susceptible college students the profit of socialisation exterior the household context (Bonal & Gonzalez, 2020).

Evidence from the United Kingdom means that kids from higher-off households spent 30% extra time on studying at residence than these from poorer households throughout the lockdown, and their mother and father reported feeling extra in a position to assist them than socio-economically deprived mother and father, whereas college students from richer faculties had entry to extra individualised assets (corresponding to on-line tutoring or chats with academics; IFS, 2020).

Students who beforehand acquired free faculty meals, these from decrease educated and single dad or mum households, and these with immigrant background, devoted considerably much less time on schoolwork at residence throughout the COVID-19 faculty closures in the UK (Bayrackdar & Guveli, 2020). Even when college students have been in a position to entry distant studying, education throughout faculty closures appears to have widened the current attainment hole between college students from completely different socio-financial backgrounds (Coe et al., 2020).

Secondly, households had been, as talked about earlier than, unprepared for distance studying and residence education. This unpreparedness could be on account of various factors: low educational standing of mother and father, points negotiating care and work duties, language difficulties for immigrant households, not having an acceptable setting for distance studying (i.e., missing a correct area, gadgets shared with different relations, poor web connection and so on.) (Adams, 2020). For instance, in many OECD international locations, fewer than half of rural areas have fastened broadband at adequate velocity (OECD, 2020).

In addition, faculties had been unprepared and academics weren’t educated for distance educating; additionally, working hours, duties and expectations had been blurry (Di Nunzio et al., 2020). The administration of distant educating was left to varsities, ensuing in an excellent heterogeneity in the service supplied that has widened the current inequalities between faculties and by consequence between households (Santagati & Barabanti, 2020). In basic, faculty closures have uncovered the lack of preparation, coaching and assist that academics have skilled earlier than and throughout the pandemic in phrases of digital and technological competencies (Trust & Whalen, 2020).

The closures have additionally affected the potential of mother and father to work. A big share of working mother and father depends on childcare companies and faculties. In international locations corresponding to France, Germany, Italy, the UK and the US, 60% of mother and father have been unable to search out various options for faculties and day-care centres (UNESCO, 2020). Difficulties in negotiating work, household, residence, and education associated duties in absence of exterior companies has put households and kids in worrying circumstances, and in some instances, the burden has concerned additionally different relations corresponding to grandparents (Daks et al., 2020). School just isn’t solely a spot for tutorial studying, but additionally an enviornment for improvement, socialisation, relational life and emotional assist, which are all essential components for kids’s psychological wellbeing and adjustment (Larsen et al., 2021). In addition, faculty routines assist kids to have common bedtimes and bodily actions, limiting sedentary behaviours and display screen time (Brazendale et al., 2017). Distance education throughout COVID-19 restrictions was accompanied by strict social isolation measures: social isolation was related to loneliness, destructive penalties on psychological well being and different well being-associated behaviours in kids (Larsen et al., 2021; Loades et al., 2020). For households, faculty closures have strongly affected the division of labour and the every day routines. The sudden adjustments to household routines included, for instance, the reallocation of family duties, kids and mother and father spending extra time at residence, completely different makes use of of the out there area and a multiplication of capabilities for the area. These disruptions, in some instances, have led to rising tensions amongst family members (Biroli et al., 2020). Yet, for some households the closure of faculties has additionally introduced some constructive penalties, as an illustration a rise in household time and the discount of some stress components (Bruining et al., 2020). Nevertheless, all analysis converges in sustaining that the most susceptible households and kids are those that have been affected extra negatively by the pandemic.

The literature has highlighted how the socio-financial circumstances have had a major affect on the seriousness of the loss attributable to faculty closures: kids coming from deprived households usually tend to expertise a number of effects past studying loss, corresponding to an absence of socialisation and integration, a threat of dropping out of faculty and lengthy-time period effects on achievement (Doyle, 2020; Larsen et al., 2021). The hole between these college students and these coming from extremely educated and wealthier households is more likely to change into wider as a result of of the assets that the latter can mobilise to counteract the lack of education (Bonal & Gonzalez, 2020). Highly educated households are, as an illustration, extra keen and possible to supply their kids with further-curricular actions and to reveal them to different cultural and educational alternatives, each in pandemic and not pandemic occasions.

Literature reveals that the components enjoying a related function in selling educational attainment are numerous and intertwined: particular person options, household background, sort of faculty—not solely associated to the educating high quality but additionally to the functionality of involving households—and lastly components associated to the mixture of these three parts (Barone, 2006; Besozzi & Colombo, 2007; Giovannini & Palmas, 2002; Lareau, 2011; Yang, 2003). School achievement appears to rely strongly on the capital to which college students have entry: financial, cultural, human and social capital (Bourdieu, 1986; Buchmann, 2002; Coleman, 1988, 1990). Parental involvement in the education of college students begins at residence with the mother and father offering a secure and wholesome setting, acceptable studying expertise, assist and a constructive perspective about faculty (Durisic & Bunijevac, 2017). Several research have highlighted the relevance of parental involvement in affecting educational attainment (Pomerantz et al., 2007) by enhancing the cognitive and mental improvement (Grolnick & Slowiaczek, 1994; Pomerantz et al., 2007). Specifically, mother and father might present assets that not solely domesticate abilities but additionally motivation with the consequence that kids internalise perspective in direction of faculty, education and studying. Structured, grownup supervised actions at residence, as an illustration, are inclined to favour kids in cognitive checks (Downey, 2002), studying to kids present them greater pre-studying abilities and having a house outfitted with a spread of educational objects (corresponding to books, magazines, a pc, a spot to review) contributes to the educational attainment. Many of these parental practices are extremely correlated with socio-financial standing (Balli et al., 1997).


3.1 Where the pandemic has hit

The disaster introduced on by the pandemic has affected an education system already characterised by appreciable inequalities. The distribution of educational alternatives from childcare companies by tertiary education over the nationwide territory is starkly unequal and the high quality of the service supplied considerably varies between northern and southern Italy and additionally inside areas and municipalities. Rural and marginal areas undergo from an absence of education companies (Sabatinelli, 2016). The territorial divide is accompanied by gender inequality that impacts education alternatives and attainment. For literacy, in keeping with PISA survey knowledge (2018), Italy ranks amongst OECD international locations between the twenty third and twenty ninth locations (Luperini & Puccetti, 2020). Italy has managed to cut back the share of college students dropping out of faculty from 20.8% in 2006 to 13.8% in 2016, however stays above the EU common (10.7%).

Considerable heterogeneity has been reported not solely amongst territories, but additionally amongst faculties, in phrases of tools, decisions, digital competencies and media education (Censis, 2020). According to Census knowledge, 84.2% of faculties have had to supply college students with digital gadgets. In addition, the ageing faculty workers (46 years is the common age) has not helped in the acquisition of new digital competencies. As the Save the Children Report has highlighted (2020), the efforts to succeed in college students in their residence have typically been ineffective as a result of of the housing circumstances: 42% of households are overcrowded. In addition, 12.3% of college students between six and seventeen years lived in homes not outfitted with digital gadgets, in 2019.

Of those that have digital gadgets, 57% need to share them with different family members for work or research. Finally, solely 30% of college students have excessive digital competencies. As anticipated, The COVID-19 pandemic in Italy has affected an education system that traditionally and structurally has reproduced inequalities slightly than mitigated them. This replica strikes alongside a vertical and a horizontal axis as Triventi has proven in his evaluate of the Italian case (2014). The vertical axis considerations the affect of the origin, that means the household background, on education achievement and profession (Checchi et al., 2006; Schizzerotto & Barone, 2006). The horizontal axis refers as a substitute to the controversial impact of the monitoring mechanism: in truth, whereas the horizontal stratification in Italy is decrease than in different international locations, nonetheless a number of students have highlighted how the chance of attending faculties thought-about extra performative and paving the solution to greater education (licei) is greater amongst college students with extremely educated mother and father, whereas these coming from households with a decrease socio-financial and educational degree usually tend to attend specialised faculties (technical and skilled faculties) (Checchi & Flabbi, 2007; Triventi, 2014). Our conceptual framework builds due to this fact on current inequalities in phrases of socio-financial standing and educational ranges, creating the evaluation by the dimensions of time and area. Time implies making an allowance for a negotiation of work-division in households, a fragile subject that has been one of the most debated throughout the lockdown (Aguiar et al., 2021; Lagomarsino et al., 2020). Space refers to the converging of all actions (work, faculty, leisure) into the home area, difficult it and highlighting the divide in phrases of potentialities of reinventing it (Yamamura & Tsustsui, 2021).


The use of internet-based mostly survey platforms is now not a advertising and marketing prerogative. On the one hand, on-line platforms present extra and extra complicated instruments for knowledge assortment and extraction with diversified prices. On the different hand, an rising availability of web connections, and use of gadgets, makes it potential to succeed in wider and extra heterogeneous teams. Such flexibility makes survey platforms corresponding to Google Forms and SurveyMonkey helpful analysis instruments. Among the scientific papers listed in Scoups since 2005, references to SurveyMonkey are discovered in 1,003. More than 460 in the final three years. The pandemic expertise has accelerated distant knowledge assortment. In the Social Sciences, one of the sectors most in interview methods, such innovation is of nice curiosity. Nevertheless, utilizing internet-based mostly survey instruments implies a number of methodological points, each in survey planning and in pattern choice. While the flexibility of these instruments is a bonus, limitations are additionally important, and should be rigorously thought-about.

In our case, timing performed a related function each for the planning and the sampling. On the one hand, a survey at the finish of the schoolyear would have translated an precise expertise of distance studying by recollections. On the different, the survey represented an opportunity to offer households a possibility to talk out about their present experiences, one thing that we understood as worthwhile past our personal analysis functions. This is the motive why we determined to not outline the pattern ex-ante however opted for snowball sampling supported by social networks and official communications from the Municipality of Milan, to enlarge the pattern as a lot as potential.

From 28 May to six June, 2020, we collected 4,008 questionnaire responses from mother and father of 5,213 college students enrolled in faculties of all grade-ranges, inside and exterior Milan. We used the faculty’s postcode to exclude respondents residing exterior Milan, lowering the pattern to three,648 surveys, of which 1,494 had been from main college students. The focus on Milan strengthened some pattern distortions. First, our knowledge assortment marketing campaign missed non-Italian households. Despite a number of makes an attempt, solely 3.7% of the pattern was composed of immigrants. Second, the educational degree of our pattern could be very excessive. Only 3.2% of respondents had an educational degree decrease than International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) degree 3—ISCED 3 represented 23.9% of the pattern, 55.4% had been ISCED 4 or 5, and 17.5% had been PhDs or Postdocs. Because of the self-choice of the pattern, this focus was anticipated. In order to counterbalance this distortion, now we have weighted the solutions. We calculated an index of educational degree for each mother and father. Drawing on descriptions of scholar household background in the newest nationwide standardised INVALSI (Italian nationwide institute for the analysis of the nationwide education and coaching system) examinations (language and math) for main lessons in Milan we get hold of the following weights: 3.6 for low educational degree (composed by family with educational degree not greater than ISCED 2), 1.45 for center-low (not greater than ISCED 4), 0.84 for center-excessive (not less than one member with ISCED 5) and 0.65 for top educational degree (each members with ISCED 5 or greater). By this step, we decreased the pattern that now we have analysed to 1,453 college students enrolled in main, from 1,235 households.

To signify the occupations in households we created an expert standing index as a proxy of the socio-financial standing, alongside parental education ranges. The skilled standing index is predicated on the occupational ranges of family members and on their financial means: our pattern consists of 31.2% households with a excessive skilled standing, 39.7% medium, and 29.1% with a low standing. The excessive skilled standing group consists of employed in excessive degree administration and white collars, freelance or professionals with a household revenue ranging from 4,000 euros per thirty days. Average skilled standing group collects households composed by clerks, operative employees, freelance and professionals with a month-to-month revenue between 2,000 and 4,000 euros. Finally, the decrease skilled standing group consists of households composed by just one employed (not in apical positions) or two members having a precarious job or belonging to the working class. In this case the revenue just isn’t greater than 2,000 euros per thirty days.


5.1 Changes in working schedules and monetary assets

The closure of faculties has had a direct impact on the managing of time and area in households. The home area has been invaded by actions and capabilities that had been as soon as a prerogative of work- and leisure areas, faculties, or public areas. Working, studying, educating, educational and inventive actions in a wider sense, leisure actions had been all concentrated in the similar area and carried out by completely different family members. Research has proven contradicting outcomes on whether or not the pandemic elevated or decreased the hours labored from residence (Deole et al., 2021; Lee & Tiptoe, 2020). Nevertheless, Deole and colleagues (2021) discovered that for fogeys, the elevated childcare duties in the aftermath of faculty closure decreased their productiveness in working from residence and elevated weekly working hours. Effects on mother and father’ work could be seen in three dimensions: (1) time devoted to work, (2) workload, and (3) revenue variation. More than half of our pattern didn’t undergo an revenue shock (57.9%). Nevertheless, the share of respondents who did is alarming: 29.1% of respondents and 27.8% of their companions have seen their revenue lower; for 16.3% of respondents, and for 13.2% of their companions, have totally misplaced their revenue. 1 / 4 of the inhabitants have labored extra hours than earlier than and a couple of third of respondents (39.1%), and for nearly a 3rd their companions (29.2%), have suffered from a rise in the workload. This knowledge signifies that an essential share of the inhabitants has skilled severe adjustments in their working routines in phrases of time, load and revenue.

The parental education degree and skilled standing have had a major affect on the manner that the work sphere has been affected throughout the lockdown. Those with a low education degree have been the most affected by a discount of work; this was skilled by greater than 60% of the respondents with a low education degree. In most of the instances (40.5%) the discount or the loss of all working hours have involved every employed member of the family. This circumstance occurred additionally amongst these with a low skilled standing (64.3%). The improve in work hours is as a substitute extra outstanding when the skilled standing and the education degree are greater: 18.30% of extremely educated households have labored extra hours throughout the lockdown in comparison with the 8.9% amongst these with a medium-low and low education degree.

Also the workload could be important in reflecting how the stability between household and work duties have been affected by the lockdown (Figure 1). According to our respondents, a excessive education degree was related to a rise in the workload for nearly 30% of respondents, whereas it affected solely the 7.5% of these with low education. On the opposite, a low degree of education was related to a decreased workload for one member in virtually half of the instances, and for 2 family members in 26.9% of the instances. Professional standing appeared to have a barely much less sturdy affect, even when noticeable: these with a low skilled standing, in truth, have labored much less in phrases of workload in 63.9% of instances (in 37.8% of these instances this situation has affected just one family member).

Changes in workload per educational degree and skilled. Source: Figure constructed by authors utilizing questionnaire knowledge

These knowledge present a pattern divided into two teams: (1) those that have had a rise of hours and vitality devoted to work; and (2) a bunch who has labored much less and has seen the workload diminishing. The first scenario tends to function considerably extra households with a excessive education degree and a excessive skilled standing, whereas the second is extra more likely to be a prerogative of the households with low education degree and skilled standing. Data will also be learn in phrases of the availability of time to be devoted to different actions than work, i.e., care or assist in educational actions or in basic time to be spent with different family members. Accordingly, mother and father with greater education {qualifications} and skilled standing might have confronted a wrestle in negotiating duties as a result of of the elevated time and vitality devoted to work. In distinction, the half of the pattern with decrease educational and skilled standing might have had a lot of time as a result of of the discount in workload and hours. These circumstances are strictly associated, of course, to the risk for some form of occupation to be carried out at residence. As our knowledge recommend and different analysis has proven (Felstead & Jewson, 2002), excessive-expert, skilled and scientific occupations have been extra simply carried out at residence, whereas low-service and most of blue-collar occupations have been abruptly stopped throughout the lockdown, resulting in layoffs and even unemployment. An elevated availability of time can typically suggest a discount of materials assets. A discount or loss of revenue considerations greater than half of our inhabitants. In 40% of these instances revenue was decreased just for one member. Whilst a discount or loss of revenue considerations additionally a related slice of these with a medium-low qualification (62%), this affect is much less severe amongst these with a medium-excessive (44.5%) or a excessive qualification (38.9%). The scenario was comparable for skilled standing.

Our pattern seems polarised between households having at their disposal extra time however affected by revenue loss—which means a discount additionally of assets to take a position in educational actions or employed care—and households having skilled a rise in the quantity of time and vitality spent working, however with an unchanged scenario in phrases of revenue. The inhabitants with decrease educational ranges and decrease skilled standing have discovered themselves in a peculiar scenario: having extra time at disposal to take care of their kids’s education with much less monetary assets and with all the penalties of an revenue shock: monetary stress, well being associated points, housing hardship and the like. In distinction, the most educated and excessive-expert inhabitants, occupying additionally managerial and excessive-standing roles, have seen their work burden improve however their monetary assets unchanged.


6.1 Negotiating education

The assist wanted for varsity actions in some instances (41%) turned extra problematic when the finish of the lockdown was not accompanied by a re-opening of faculties. Families have been typically compelled to search for assist amongst different adults corresponding to relations or paid employees. While 45% took on the burden of supporting their kids in faculty actions, virtually 20% concerned grandparents, 9.4% different relations, and 6.9% child-sitters. Of low skilled standing households 21%, and 1 / 4 of medium skilled standing households have appealed to grandparents. Among excessive skilled standing households this share is decrease (18%). Low and medium skilled standing households requested for assist from different household’s members—9.9% and 7.5% respectively. The comparative share for top skilled standing households was solely 2.2%. Finally, we are able to discover that the externalisation of care is significantly extra frequent amongst households with excessive skilled standing (17.7%) in comparison with 9.9% in medium skilled standing households and 2.6% in low skilled standing households. Remarkably, in all the classes, virtually a 3rd of households didn’t request assist from anyone.

Since the affect on girls in phrases of rising home and care work has been greater than on males (Bonacini et al., 2021; Cuesta & Pico, 2020), now we have tried to have a look at how the moms’ occupation has affected the form of assist mother and father have chosen (Figure 2). Expanding this evaluation to the work typologies of moms we are able to discover that the involvement of relations, particularly grandparents, in caring and faculty duties is extra related amongst blue- (34.1%) and white-collar staff (27.5%), whereas 20% of entrepreneurs employed a child-sitter, and 13% of the freelancers. More than half of the unemployed didn’t use any assist or assist and this share decreases by different circumstances, however it’s for all respondents greater than 30%.


Support by moms’ occupation as soon as the lockdown ended and faculties reopened. Source: Figure constructed by authors utilizing questionnaire knowledge

Matching these knowledge with these about the effects of lockdown on work hours, workload and revenue, we are able to perceive different options relating to this polarisation. As excessive skilled standing professions are the ones extra more likely to be carried out from residence, the subject of job negotiation involved principally this share of the pattern, which can also be the one who has extra assets to externalise childcare. The different finish of the continuum is represented by blue-collar and low-expert employees which have seen a discount or a loss of work hours and/or revenue, with a parallel improve in time. But as soon as the restriction measures have been softened some of these employees have returned to work whereas the faculties remained closed. This mixture has put these employees in entrance of negotiation points which were principally solved by unpaid options. Another share of this group has not returned to work dealing with severe monetary points which are more likely to have lengthy-time period effects.


The time and monetary assets of households have been abruptly known as on as faculties entered home areas in an unprecedented manner. The blurring of the borders between faculty and home area has contributed to a rise in inequalities as a result of it has highlighted the distinction in family assets. Figure 3 reveals the circumstances of shared home areas by skilled standing.


Spaces at residence per skilled standing. Source: Figure constructed by authors utilizing questionnaire knowledge

More than a 3rd of kids in the pattern attended on-line lessons or did homework on a desk in the kitchen or the lounge (31.5%). Another third attend lessons in a single room (29.8%) and virtually one half shared a room (24.5%). If we take into account skilled situation, the availability of a desk in a single room (33.9%) was extra frequent amongst excessive skilled standing households in comparison with medium (29.7%) and low (25.3%). The availability of area to review and/or work evidently change into a difficulty when a number of members work or research at residence. For this motive, now we have thought-about the availability of area amongst these households in which all the members or not less than one earn a living from home (Figure 4).


Availability of home area to review in households working from residence. Source: Figure constructed by authors utilizing questionnaire knowledge

As we are able to see, one third of the kids having only one dad or mum working from residence tended to make use of a desk positioned in the kitchen or the lounge (34.7%) and solely 10% shared this desk with siblings. More than 1 / 4 have a desk in a single room (27.4%) and one other quarter (25.1%) in a shared room. Children with each mother and father working from residence had been virtually equally distributed amongst these having a desk in a single room (29.6%) and in a shared room (28.7%) or utilizing a desk in the kitchen or lounge (29.3%). The share of the pattern not having a devoted area even when shared is irrelevant. This signifies that kids having each mother and father or just one dad or mum working from residence have spent this era in pretty first rate circumstances with an area at their disposal for on-line lessons and homework. This can also be on account of the socio-financial profile of these mother and father who’ve labored from residence that overlaps principally with these households having a excessive skilled standing, as already talked about.

Only 8.28% of households with a low skilled standing had each mother and father working from residence and just one third had one dad or mum working from residence. In distinction, in the case of medium and excessive skilled standing, now we have just one third not working from residence. The risk of accessing on-line lessons and different actions can also be linked to the availability of digital gadgets and an web connection.

Our pattern was in basic effectively-outfitted in phrases of web connection, with greater than the 75% of households having a fibre-optic connection and greater than the 16% an ADSL connection. Only 8% had been poorly outfitted: 6.3% had solely cell phone knowledge and 1.3% had no connection in any respect. Half of this portion of respondents reacted to the lockdown by putting in knowledge on their cell phone, 17% put in a fibre-optic or ADLS connection in their home and about one third has remained with no connection. As Figure 5 reveals, the focus of respondents with no connection is amongst households with low educational degree and low skilled standing.


Households with out web connection by educational degree and skilled place. Source: Figure constructed by authors utilizing questionnaire knowledge

Having connection just isn’t adequate for assuring a top quality on-line studying, since a correct gadget can also be wanted. More than the 40% declare that their little one shares the gadget (laptop computer or PC) with one other household’s member and the 20% with greater than one other member. One third of the kids has as a substitute a self-devoted gadget. Considering the educational degree (Figure 4), the solely related distinction considerations the respondents with low {qualifications}: amongst these the share of little one sharing the gadget with one household’s member will increase (47.2%), whereas the share of those that have a self-devoted gadget is decrease (23.8%) (Figure 6).


Availability of digital gadgets at residence by educational qualification. Source: Figure constructed by authors utilizing questionnaire knowledge


The closure of faculties alongside with the closure of further-curricular actions has challenged mother and father not solely in helping their kids in faculty-associated actions, but additionally to fill a void left by different actions corresponding to sport, cultural and social actions. The relevance of these actions is extensively acknowledged in supporting cognitive improvement and achievement in education (La Belle, 1982). Research has confirmed that the involvement of mother and father and the high quality of studying at residence enhance tutorial outcomes (Balli et al., 1997; Downey, 2002; Grolnick & Slowiaczek, 1994).

Before exploring which actions have been instructed for kids in addition to high school assignments, Figure 7 reveals mother and father’ worries about the loss of studying and the assets they’ve at disposal (categorised as cultural and human assets) to fill or not less than diminish this hole. Considering the educational degree appears the most ample proxy to signify the socio-financial and cultural background. The fear about the loss of studying is extra frequent amongst households with medium-low and low ranges of education (greater than half in each instances) in comparison with 40% amongst excessive and medium-excessive skilled standing households. This could be understood in gentle of knowledge that 5.4% of these with a low-degree of education and 10% of these with a medium-low degree of education, in comparison with greater than 15% of these with a medium-excessive degree and excessive degree of education, report having the assets wanted. It can also be related that for all respondents, regardless of educational degree and skilled standing, solely 12% of mother and father perceived that they’d the assets to do actions with their kids in order to compensate the absence of faculties and organised further-curricular actions.


Parents’ opinions by educational degree. Source: Figure constructed by authors utilizing questionnaire knowledge

Parents had been requested about the frequency of sure actions throughout faculty closure. Figure 8 reveals actions carried out every day or greater than as soon as every week for all of the pattern. The extra frequent exercise was watching a film (95.2%), adopted by doing math workout routines (80.5%), right here used as a proxy for doing homework. More than half of the pattern has been engaged every day or greater than as soon as every week in on-line lessons or actions promoted by faculties and in studying by themselves. Less frequent was studying a overseas language (22.15%) and watching educational packages (13.9%).


Activities carried out every day or greater than as soon as every week in all households. Source: Figure constructed by authors utilizing questionnaire knowledge

Our findings point out the following background has influenced the form of actions that had been carried out often by households. The skilled standing appears to have an effect on which actions are often carried out by kids to a lesser extent than the educational degree of households. The solely three actions that appeared strongly affected by skilled standing had been the on-line lessons proposed by faculties, watching films or animation films and enjoying board video games. Children in greater skilled standing households have a tendency to hold out these actions extra often than others.

A a lot stronger correlation was discovered between the actions in which kids have been engaged throughout the lockdown and the educational degree of mother and father. Out of the actions illustrated in Figure 8, some actions which were carried out extra often in extremely educated households, corresponding to studying, practising some sports activities and studying a overseas language; whereas different actions, corresponding to video video games and enjoying on the cell phone are carried out extra often by decrease educated households. Specifically, on-line further-curricular actions appear to be a prerogative of a better share (20.5%) of extremely educated mother and father (in comparison with 6.6% and 12.3% of mother and father with a low-degree education and excessive-medium degree education respectively). Playing videogames is the exercise in which a bigger share of kids of mother and father with a low-degree of education engaged (64.1%) if in comparison with different teams (between 47% and 49%) (Figure 9).

Beyond a dialogue on the actions themselves and their affect in phrases of cognitive improvement or education achievement, it’s fascinating to notice how the mother and father’ education degree is so strongly correlated with the sort and frequency of actions whereas the skilled standing just isn’t. In different phrases, we are able to argue that the education degree of households tends to have an effect on the preferences independently from the skilled standing. This appears to point that the degree of education is way more determinant in defining the sort of engagement of mother and father and kids in sure sort of actions, that, in the absence of the education establishment are more likely to fill the studying hole, or not less than make this hole smaller.


Activities carried out every day or greater than as soon as every week per educational {qualifications}. Source: Figure constructed by authors utilizing questionnaire knowledge


Research has proven that closure of faculties throughout the summer season interval will increase educational inequalities between socially advantaged and deprived kids (Alegre, 2016). Although on-line lessons had been organised throughout the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic faculty closures, even when college students have been in a position to entry on-line lessons, distant studying appears to have widened the current attainment hole between college students from completely different socio-financial backgrounds (Coe et al., 2020). Our survey gives some insights about the components contributing to this hole, by taking a look at which assets have been mobilised by households with completely different socio-financial profiles.

Clearly, the pandemic polarised households between people who gained time and misplaced work (in phrases of hours, but additionally in phrases of revenue) and these households who skilled the reverse situation. These latter have confronted points of negotiating work duties and childcare, the wealthier inhabitants with recourse to paid professionals corresponding to child-sitters. The former teams have had at disposal a lot of time however much less assets, each economically (as a result of of layoffs or unemployment) and culturally (as a result of this case was prevalent amongst the share of our pattern with a low degree of education). In addition, whereas the recourse to paid options may have been dismissed, not less than partially, as soon as faculty reopened, revenue or work adjustments can result in lengthy-time period effects corresponding to unemployment, precariousness or well being-associated points (corresponding to melancholy) affecting the complete family, kids included.

Our respondents had been fairly pessimistic and destructive about their assets to interact their kids, regardless of the socio-financial profile. If we glance completely at the degree of education, leaving the skilled standing apart, we are able to discover {that a} comparatively greater degree of education is related to extra frequent engagement in actions contributing to cognitive and educational improvement, corresponding to studying or studying a language. This sturdy relevance of educational degree appears to suggest that whereas financial assets clearly rely, for fostering educational change, it’s the education degree of households that has made some important distinction throughout this pandemic in the try of filling the void left by faculty and further-curricular actions.