Empathy versus reading among children and declining interest in studying in the US

According to Teresa Cremin, professor of pedagogy and co-director of the Centre for Literacy and Social Justice at The Open University, reading, in particular, trains children in empathy. This is a key social and emotional capacity for them, especially in a world that is divided and torn by inequalities. Besides, the youngest readers are more confident and have a greater sense of self-worth. Reading also improves their mental well-being, offering peace and relaxation.

According to a report by the Sutton Trust,  30% of English and Welsh students aged 11 to 16 are taking private lessons. The government’s National Tutoring Program (NTP) also operates there – this is tutoring organised in schools to help students catch up after the pandemic. In contrast, in the US, parents are unaware of their children’s academic delays  – 92% of them believe they are performing at the level of the rest of the class. Meanwhile, school professionals say half of US students started the current school year behind in at least one subject. Grades do not represent the students’ real skill level, and there is a lack of adequate communication between teachers and parents.

In the US, hundreds of thousands of young people who reached the majority during the pandemic did not pursue higher education. Instead, they have chosen jobs and careers that do not require a college degree. Many dropped out of college because of high tuition fees and the need to incur college debt. Between 2019 and 2022, enrolment in Bachelor’s degree programmes fell by 8%.

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