More than 1.5 billion students have to stay at home due to COVID-19 school closures, more than 90 percent of total enrolled learners (UNESCO, 04.01.2020). To ensure learning continuity, students have to study at home. However, it is unclear how the students respond to this challenge and if there is a way to improve their lives. Therefore, we conducted a COVID-19 Rapid Response study among current high school students in Ecuador. We aim to understand how the students respond to these challenges (how they use time, plan for the future, plan a career, and manage mental health and stress), and to investigate the extent to which online soft-skill entrepreneurial courses (Personal Initiative and Negotiations) help students overcome these challenges. These courses were provided within our larger project “Showing Life Opportunities,” and we will compare outcomes to students who instead received placebo courses in Spanish and English.
- The data show that 59 percent of students have both an internet connection at home and a computer or tablet, 74 percent are engaging in some online or telelearning, and 86 percent have done some school work on the last weekday.
- Detailed time-use data show most students have established similar daily routines around education, although gender and wealth differences emerge in time spent working and on household tasks.
- Closure of schools and social isolation are the two main problems students say they face, and while the majority are mostly happy, 16 percent have mental health scores that indicate depression.