SA Journal of Education, Volume 43, Supplement 1, December 2023

A worldwide review of the impact of COVID-19 disruptions on learner development and resilience

Macalane Junel Malindi, Johnnie Hay


The COVID-19 pandemic necessitated school closures and movement restrictions that disrupted holistic development and adaptive coping in learners worldwide. Adaptive coping is also referred to as resilience. Holistic development covers the biophysiological, psychological, social, spiritual and educational domains of child development. Several researchers have explored the impact of developmental risks caused by school closures and movement restrictions on learner development. With this article we aim to present a synthesis of these reviewed papers. We reviewed 81 peer-reviewed papers that were published globally from 2020 to 2023. The focus of these papers was on biophysical, psychological, social, religious and academic development in learners. We did not develop a priori themes to guide us; instead, themes emerged from the articles that were reviewed. The findings show that although the lockdown restrictions were aimed at preventing the spread of the virus and saving lives, the imposed restrictions affected the development of learners in biophysiological, psychological, social, educational and religious domains. Furthermore, the findings show that the impact of the lockdown necessitated multisystemic interventions on different levels to enable learners to overcome backlogs and promote resilience.

ORCiD iDs of authors:
Macalane Junel Malindi -
Johnnie Hay -

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