Covid learning loss catch-up fund


Sir, – The recent article by Prof Judith Harford and Dr Brian Fleming regarding the Covid catch-up fund for schools (Opinion, September 17th) drew focus to many of the deficiencies in the State’s response to the issue of learning loss due to school closures.

While there are many ways to argue for such resources, it is worth noting that the economics of such an investment would also make abundant sense.

A recent observation from the Institute of Fiscal Studies estimated a loss of £40,000 in income over the lifetime of each student in the UK due to learning loss from missing half a year of school, without adequate interventions.

Using similar figures for Ireland, the equivalent long-term lost earnings for the roughly one million school-going children affected by closures suggests a roughly €45 billion loss for this generation.

Furthermore, there is strong evidence of the particularly high monetary and societal returns to investing in children’s in primary education.

Simply put, all of this would suggest that from the economic viewpoint, the Government could increase the recently announced €52 million Covid catch-up fund two or three-fold and society would still make a handsome return on the investment.

– Yours, etc,


Kemmy Business School,

University of Limerick.