December 18, 2020 / 03:40 PM / by NBS / Header Image
Credit: Premium Times
In April 2020, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), with support from the World Bank, launched the COVID19 National Longitudinal Phone Survey (NLPS); a monthly survey of a nationally representative sample of 1,950 households to monitor the socioeconomic impact of the pandemic and other shocks. The first round (baseline) of the survey was conducted in April/May 2020, during which a federally mandated lockdown was in full effect. The government began lifting restrictions in June and by the time the sixth round was conducted between October 9- 24, 2020, there were minimal restrictions on movement within the country.
This brief presents the findings from the sixth round of the Nigeria COVID-19 NLPS. The sixth round of the NLPS had two key innovations. The first innovation was to collect specific information on education for up to six school-aged household members (5-18 years). This allows for more detailed individual-level analysis of schoolaged household members, making it possible to (1) verify the trends from previous rounds that were reported for all children collectively (rather than individually) and (2) examine differences in school attendance and engagement in learning activities across key individual characteristics such as sex and age. The second innovation was to ask households directly about their perceptions of and willingness to engage in testing and vaccinations for COVID-19.
Education Situation Of School-Aged Household Members (5-18 Years Old)
In October 2020, fewer school-aged household members were attending school compared to January/ February 2019. In October 2020, schools in some states were yet to reopen. The share of male schoolaged household members who attended school was almost 17 percentage points lower in October 2020 than in January/February 2019, while the share of female school-aged household members who attended school was around 14 percentage points lower. The drop in attendance was larger in urban areas (25 percentage points lower) than in rural areas (12 percentage points lower).
The main reason that school-aged members did not attend school in October 2020 - reported for 57% of those who were not attending school - was that schools were still closed due to the coronavirus restrictions. Yet of those who were not attending for this reason, almost all (99.9%) are planning to attend school after their schools reopen. Additionally, around 27% of those school-aged household members in the oldest age group (15-18 years old) who were not attending school reported that the main reason for nonattendance was that they were awaiting admission. This may reflect the fact that older school-aged individuals rely on further academic testing and administrative procedures before progressing between grades or switching between schools, which in many cases were delayed by the COVID-19 crisis.
Although school closure is the main reason why school -aged household members were not attending school across all consumption quintiles, lack of money is the remains an important reason among individuals from the poorest households (16% of those not attending). Those school-aged household members who report that they are currently awaiting admission predominantly come from the richest households (27% of those not attending), perhaps reflecting the better prospects for higher levels of educational attainment for individuals from richer households.
Individual-Level Dynamics Of School Attendance
In order to track individual-level dynamics of attendance, the charts below examine attendance for a sample of household members that were school-aged in January/February 2019 and October 2020 (roughly 7- 18 years old in October 2020). Of this sample, about 50% were attending school both in January/February 2019 and in October 2020, while around 29% reported attending school only in January/February 2019 but not in October 2020. Of those who were attending school in January/February 2019 but not in October 2020, around 63% (19% of the whole sample) reported that closure of schools was the main reason for their nonattendance and 25% (7% of the whole sample) reported that the main reason was that they were awaiting admission.
There were some important gender differences in how school attendance evolved between January/February 2019 and October 2020. A larger share of female school-aged household members (12%) were not attending in both January/February 2019 and October 2020 compared with male school-aged household members (9%). Yet a smaller share of female school-aged household members (27%) than male school-aged household members (31%) were attending in January/ February 2019 but were no longer attending in October 2020.
There were also large differences in the evolution of school attendance across different age groups. The oldest age group (those aged 15-18 years) were the most likely to not be attending in both January/February 2019 and October 2020 (19% of this age group). The oldest age group were also more likely to have stopped attending over this period, with 34% of them having attended school in January/February 2019 but not in October 2020. This may, once again, reflect the effect that the COVID-19 crisis is having on the procedures needed to progress through higher grades. Yet it may also simply be that many older school-aged members passed the 9 years of mandatory schooling required in Nigeria between 2019 and 2020.
Engagement in Learning Activities
Around 55% of school-aged household members have been engaged in education or learning activities at some point since mid-March, meaning that 45% of school-aged household members have not engaged in any education or learning activities over this period. This emphasizes the importance of helping children catch up for the time they missed at school. School-aged female members were slightly more likely to have been engaged in any learning activities (57% compared to 53% of males), although the share was consistent across age groups. School-aged household members in urban areas and in the richest consumption quintiles are more likely to have participated in learning activities than school-aged household members in rural areas and in the lowest consumption quintiles, which could widen preexisting education gaps between the rich and the poor
Vaccination And Testing
The vast majority of respondents reported that they were willing to get tested for and vaccinated against COVID-19, if such services were free. Almost 90% of respondents answered "Yes" when asked "If you could get tested for free for the COVID-19 virus, would you be willing to get tested?". Additionally, 89% of respondents answered "Yes" when asked "If an approved vaccine to prevent coronavirus was available right now at no cost, would you agree to be vaccinated?". Respondents in urban areas are more skeptical towards a possible vaccine against the COVID-19 virus: 14% of urban respondents would not agree to be vaccinated (even at no cost) compared to 8% in rural areas. Out of those who would not agree to be vaccinated, 32% indicate that the main reason is because they do not think it would be safe, and 31% say they do not consider themselves to be sufficiently at risk of contracting COVID19.
Employment and Income
While the share of respondents who were working remained stable in October 2020 (at 87% of respondents), the sixth round of the NLPS provides further evidence that income remains precarious for many households. Of the 84% of households that operated a non-farm enterprise at any point in 2020, around 22% were not operating their businesses in October 2020. The vast majority of these non-farm enterprises that are currently closed had been open at some point since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, indicating that businesses that may have, at some point, resumed operations were not viable enough to continue. If household income continues to be precarious, this may limit the investments households are able to make in education and health services for their members, even if schools fully reopen and the government supports more testing and vaccination.