Education for All? Assessing the Impact of Socio-economic Disparity on Learning Engagement During the COVID-19 Pandemic in Indonesia
This paper attempts to shed light on the impact of socio-economic disparity on learning engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic in Indonesia. Utilising search intensity data from Google Trends, school data from Dapodik (Education Core Database), and socio-economic data from the National Socioeconomic Survey, we conduct descriptive analysis, an event study, and difference-in-difference estimations. First, school quality differs in terms of the regions’ development level, especially between western and eastern Indonesia. However, densely populated and well-developed areas generally have lower offline classroom availability. In addition, the quality of public schools is generally lower than private schools. Second, our estimation results show that only online-classroom related search intensity that increased significantly after school closures on 16 March 2020, not in self-learning related search intensity. Further the analysis shows that socio-economic disparity within provinces widens the gap in online learning engagement, albeit with weak evidence from per capita expenditure. Interestingly, provinces with a higher inequality and rural population tend to have higher self-learning related search intensity due to students’ necessity to compensate for low learning quality from schools. In addition, technology adoption does not seem to give much of an increase to online-classroom related search intensity but contributes to lower self-learning related search intensity due to increased academic distraction. Our study provides evidence for the Indonesian government to make more precise policy in improving learning quality during the pandemic.
This research was conducted as a part of the project ‘ERIA Research on COVID-19’ at the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA).