Correlation between air pollution and school performance

A Belgian study, summarised on Friday in De Morgen, states that pupils underperform in class on days when the air is more polluted.

Researchers went to three Flemish primary schools in Zonhoven, Tirlemont and Hasselt to prove this. They noted that pupils’ scores increased when the air was purer. In contrast, this was not the case, for pupils whose home environment had greater levels of pollution.

The Professor in Epidemiology, Tim Nawrot (University of Hasselt or UHasselt), says “The differences are subtle but disruptive for the pupils. The effect of air pollution is almost as much of a determining factor on overall performance as the level of parents’ education.”

He went on, “We cannot deny that air quality has consequences on a cognitive level. Given that Flanders is crossed by heavy traffic, we should take urgent action. We have produced a study of schools with relatively unpolluted air. In a densely occupied city, the effects are certainly likely to be more significant.”

The author: Michel THEYS

Michel Theys, a Belgian native, began his career as a civil servant, serving the public for several decades. After retirement, he shifted gears to follow his passion for journalism. With a background in public administration, Theys brought a unique perspective to his reporting. His insightful articles, covering a wide array of topics, swiftly gained recognition. Today, Michel Theys is a respected journalist known for his balanced and thoughtful reporting in the Belgian media landscape.

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