To curb the spread of COVID-19, Uganda implemented one of Africa’s strictest lockdowns. With all educational institutions entirely shut down for seven months, students, and in particular, those attending boarding schools, found their daily lives in total disarray. In this policy brief, we use data from a phone survey with 811 students enrolled in the National Certificate Course at five Vocational Training Institutes (VTIs) across central and eastern Uganda. 60% of the students in the sample are male, and the average student is 20 years old. In 2020 school closures impacted around 250 million students in Sub-Saharan Africa (UNICEF 2021). Our survey was conducted in June 2020, three months into the Ugandan school closure, to contribute evidence toward understanding how the pandemic affected students’ learning environments, mental health and time use in the very short run. This study is a spin-off of the Meet Your Future Project, an ongoing RCT designed to investigate the relative importance of several barriers to quality employment that students face when transitioning from the educational sector into labor markets characterized by high levels of informality. Evidence on medium and long run effects of the school closure will be available in the near future.
GLM|LIC Policy Brief No. 38