Educators and students all over the world are going through a phase quite unknown to them due to the rapidly spreading of the coronavirus (COVID-19)
Within weeks, students saw a drastic change in education which they have been experiencing continuously for years. These changes give us a glimpse at how education could possibly change in the long run.
With the spread of the contagion across the entire world without sparing any part, countries have taken swift and decisive actions to mitigate the effect as far as the understanding of human minds could work. We have seen in the past two-four weeks, multiple announcements of suspending attendance at schools and universities to avoid mass gatherings, which is the urgent need of the hour. Due to the school closure announcements and implementation in over 39 countries, and another 22 countries announcing partial “localized” closures about more than 421 million children are affected.
- The world sees millions of students into temporary ‘home-schooling’ situations, especially in some of the most heavily impacted countries as well as the countries which are trying to take ample measures to simplify the problem. These changes have caused not only great degree of aggravation, but also prompted new symbol of learning modernization. How reactions to COVID-19 will affect education systems around the world is still not known, but there are signs suggesting that it could have a lasting impact on the education sector. We are being forced to think of sustainable options beyond a typical class room setting.
Education sector forced towards innovative solutions
To deal with the new virus and slow down its spread, students are forced to give up century old lecture-based approach of learning and look out for innovative solutions in a home-based setting with a similar output. As more and more governances are suggesting rather making it mandatory to maintain social distancing until the health crisis is dissipated, universities and schools are becoming more flexible than ever, to ensure that academics is supported through effective online learning mediums.
Students should be allowed means for an equivalent grade of learning and be provided with more available options and avenues to be able to continue with their studies in the midst of such unprecedented crisis. At this point online learning, virtual learning platforms, or website-based learning management systems can help institutions connect with students without any potential health risks. Now is the time to explore what works best for your distance learning and offering them as tools to prospective students.
As we are now transmitted into a new world of social distancing, it is important how proactively and strategically we deal with this health crisis, and figure out the most innovative options of e learning.
Focused to ensure continuation of learning
- In order to continue learning and growing, teachers and school administrators are encouraged to use applications to support communication with learners and parents to deliver live lesson or open online course styled lessons. Academic content is also delivered through TV and other media. Existing apps are being employed to maintain communication between teachers and students. Distance and home learning invariably places a heavy burden on progenitor and caregivers. Many are struggling to support kids in their new learning environment, often juggling between supervision, their own work and house chores.
Requirement for adjusting school and exam calendar
Indefinite period of school closures are significantly affecting the school calendar in certain countries. Rescheduling examinations and assessments for all levels of schooling and universities are in process. Some exams are decided to be taken online. The school calendar is also being adjusted to accommodate lost days of learning and in some countries state testing has been cancelled for the 2019-2020 school year.
Due to extended confinement, children are being separated from their peers and teachers and deprived of socializing activities, including sports.
As the confinement stretches, it is critical to protect their well-being and mental health, and to increase support to families, teachers and caregivers. Organization like UNESCO will not only continue collecting, analyzing, and sharing policy measures being taken by countries but also work on encouraging and advising others who are less prepared for this exceptional period. Such cooperation will definitely come as a support in making critical decisions to ensure learning continuity, guided by principles of equity and inclusion.
COVID-19 is paralysing various sectors and the impact of it on the education sector has led billions of student population at home, effects of which are yet to be seen. As children are experiencing new means of learning, online learning is the big winner from this – across all education levels; so, to also prove that quality now is at the centre stage. Effort should rightly be taken to make the education sector fully equipped to deal with the present crisis. We should be ever ready to apply ourselves to the ever changing dynamics of the times.