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COVID-19 impact on secondary learning among Bangladeshi and Pakistani families

Understanding the impact of COVID-19 on learning experiences of secondary school going age children among Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic minority families

Project summary

COVID-19 related school disruption and closures have significantly impacted the lives of students. Notably, these disruptions have had a multi-fold impact on children living in ethnic minority families. Although ethnic and racial inequalities are persistent across contexts, this project particularly engages with young adults and other family members belonging to Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic minority families living in England. Children in these families have been uniquely affected by the pandemic (Bayrakdar & Guveli, 2020), given the higher rates of prevalence of COVID among these communities and also greater and persistent structural inequalities.

Bangladeshi and Pakistani ethnic minority families have been identified as a focus of this research because firstly, these particular groups have been strongly impacted by COVID (Platt & Warwick, 2020; Trivedy et al., 2020) and secondly, their socio cultural specificities make them more susceptible to disadvantage during COVID related school closures (Bayrakdar & Guveli, 2020). Our particular focus is on secondary school children whose learning has been majorly disrupted due to national lockdowns and uncertainty regarding national assessments.

Therefore, this project aims to address the unique situation and experiences of these BAME families with secondary school age children to understand how COVID-related challenges are shaping their learning experiences, household dynamics and future aspirations.

This is an exploratory, small scale project but will fill an important gap in existing knowledge by taking a strong cultural lens to understanding how learning among Bangladeshi and Pakistani families could be supported, drawing on a deeper understanding of their lived realities and contextualised understanding of the challenges they face. The aim is not simply to reproduce a deficit discourse (which tends to be associated with families from these ethnic minority groups), but to understand family dynamics and the opportunities offered herein.


Cambridge Humanities Research Grants Scheme. The project will run through January till December 2021.

Project team

Professor Nidhi Singal ( and Dr. Aliya Khalid (