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School failure, isolation … A study measures the strong impact of the pandemic on pupils and students



The advent of the pandemic and the switch to distance education during the first confinement, in March 2020, had given rise to fears of a massive school dropout. This is what the Education Barometer, presented on Thursday, October 14, by Les Apprentis d’Auteuil, tried to measure.

This survey, conducted by the Opinionway polling institute with a representative sample of 2,500 people aged 16 and over (1), highlights the perceived effects of the health situation and its social consequences on education, studies, training.

→ ANALYSIS. Closing of schools, what impact on students?

Among 16-25 year olds, 87% believe that their course has been penalized by the Covid-19 crisis, or 8% more than in 2020. What strikes Hugues Cazenave, the president of Opinionway, is than “This feeling is very massive, very intense, with 40% of young people who consider that this crisis had a very important impact on their career”. A proportion which even climbs to more than 50% for young people identified as “in difficulty”.

The effects of the crisis could be “still in front of us”

In general, young people in this age group are, overwhelmingly, convinced that the virus has had a “significant” impact on their generation’s feeling of isolation, as well as on their confidence in it. future (for both items, 87% up 5 points compared to the 2020 Barometer), and on their psychological state (86%, + 9 points).

The Apprentis d’Auteuil, who in their establishments welcome many young people who have dropped out of school, have certainly not observed an influx of additional requests. “On the other hand, among those who join us, the proportion of students in great difficulty, especially psychological, has significantly increased since the start of the pandemic”, assures André Altmeyer, Deputy Managing Director.

His fear is that the effects of the crisis, combined with other weaknesses (personal, family, social) and the sometimes inappropriate attitude of the school or university (lack of listening, flexibility) , “Still be in front of us”. In other words, that the number of young people leaving the school system each year without a diploma, training or job (90,000 currently) starts to rise again.

Regarding the results, a more contrasted evolution

This barometer partially confirms the information we had regarding the effects of the pandemic on the situation of young people. Under the effect of distance education often synonymous with isolation, many of them have seen their mental health deteriorate, forcing the government to set up “psy checks”.

In contrast, higher education officials say the number of dropout students did not increase last year. If we are to believe the Minister of Higher Education, Frédérique Vidal, the pass rate in license, traditionally low, is even on the rise. It should reach 47% this year, about 7 points more than in 2016.

→ EXPLANATION. The success rate is on the rise in licensing

In primary and secondary education, the development is more contrasted. By comparing the national assessments of September 2019 and September 2020, we can certainly observe declining scores, especially in CE1. And the gap between priority education and the rest of the schools is starting to widen again. But we are far from the dreaded collapse. Especially since the results of these evaluations, in 6e, are rather better. Another encouraging data: the drop-out rate in pro high school decreased in 2020-2021, compared to the previous year.

The Auteuil Apprenticeship Barometer delivers a much darker picture. According to the study, 17% of young people in school (or who should be) declare themselves having major educational or learning difficulties, in other words, they no longer go to classes or training or feel they have failed or are in difficulty. . And 44% of 16-25 year olds consider that they have already faced problems of this type.

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