Long Term Impacts of Covid-19 on Education in 2020 and Beyond

Covid-19 Impact on Education
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The world is shattered by the destruction Coronavirus is continuing to do all around us. The virus has impacted and continues to impact every sector of business. The world wasn’t prepared for an incessant wave like this. Education at any level being affected the most. Schools and Colleges were necessary for our education to grow socially and intellectually seems to be declining. The pandemic will certainly continue to accelerate the decline and has even impacted the International Exams too.

For the foreseeable future, attending school or college seems off the table since the public health emergency is showing no signs of subsiding. The education sector will certainly bounce back but until then, we need to think of alternatives to keep educating people through various other platforms.

Everyone is turning to zoom video calls or online courses to complete their ongoing degree or even learning something new after complete closure of schools, colleges and universities worldwide. According to the data given by UNESCO, approximately 1.723 billion learners have been affected due to the pandemic. Which is 98.4% of the world’s student population.

All the important career depending examinations like Cambridge International Examinations, Cambridge IGCSE, Cambridge O Level, Cambridge AS&A Level, International Baccalaureate and each country’s local exam boards have been cancelled for the May/June 2020. The Pandemic has created uncertainty over the future of the students aspiring to study in the global institutes around the world.

The closure of schools is impacting students, teachers and their families. The social and economic issues like student debt, food security, digital learning and homelessness of International students are some of the major concerns.

Online learning programs can help the privileged section of our society to continue their education without interruption but the families who do not have a definite source of income and cannot afford internet or any digital devices are going through a challenging phase.

The Social-economic costs that come align with the closure of the schools and colleges will not be contained easily. The impact will be severe on the marginalised group of our society. Parents staying at home and working from home with their children around is likely to decrease their productivity.

To curb the spread of the pandemic following some preventive measures until the vaccine is invented are social-distancing and self-isolation which has lead to the closure of all the educational bodies in more than 120 countries. Though, the closing of educational institutes alone will not prevent the virus but will delay it.

The effectiveness of this step taken worldwide depends on how well students are maintaining the recommended measures to keep themselves safe outside the school. The school closure in certain countries was prompted after widespread of the disease and in some countries, it happened at the right time. Reopening of these educational bodies is not even under consideration until we feel secured and safe once again.

What does this mean in the long run?

If the global health crisis continues for a long period of time, more students are likely to drop out as the opportunity of learning from home is not sustainable. If schools and colleges remain close, parents have to miss on their work to take care of their children which will decrease their productivity at work and incur losses in wages which is further going to affect our economy and community drastically.

Possible Alternatives

  • Digital learning with high technology solutions can lead to a smooth education system during these hard times. However, this home-based education system requires basic necessities like internet connection, power supply, devices at both the ends. Many online platforms are offering their course and service to a wider section of society by marking down their price. Global platforms like Coursera and edX have given free access to many of their online courses. Other platforms will also eventually make their courses more accessible to people all around the world to uplift our education system.
  • Distance learning programs should include marginalised groups who cannot afford high-tech devices.
  • Helping and guiding students to setup digitisation at their homes.

Innovation and Technology

With the onset of the Global pandemic, innovation has helped to reshape our education system. The growth in technology worldwide has helped students and educators to continue teaching without interruption. This digital dive can bring many changes to the education system practised today.

The changes can be for better or worse as it is stretching the gaps between the privilege and needy. A full-blown pandemic has led to the innovation of new ways to keep the education going. The home-schooling situation in the most heavily impacted countries is seen as a challenge for parents, teachers and the students. There is a high degree of inconvenience in this type of education.

Nonetheless, it has opened the doors for a completely new educational innovation. We can’t actually understand its side effects, given the duration of time it has been enacted all around the world. However, we can say that it can be a trajectory in education, innovation and digitisation. Many are still scrambling with this shift.

Universities, schools and colleges serve various functions apart from its primary function of educating. There are practical learning by conducting research or experiments, interacting with great minds, socialising, team-building and many more. Schools and colleges are also major employers as we can compare them with a small city that requires every type of professionals. Universities and colleges are major stakeholders in our economy.

In India, around 600 million students are affected by the global pandemic. The major setback this pandemic has brought to the students who had plans to pursue higher education in the country or abroad. Currently, in order to deal with the deadly virus, all schools and colleges are taking the following steps:

  • Closing all educational bodies
  • Postponing or rescheduling exams
  • Sanitising the premises
  • Long term contingency plan

Though the students are not on campus, the problems that come with it is going to linger for a long time. Students in the middle of any projects or research have no clue about when they can commence it. The admissions and recruitments have paused and students don’t know how their credits are going to be determined.

All the educational institutes are not available to answer any urgent questions students have. Students with Scholarship programs are struggling to receive funds from their respective college amidst this global pandemic. They are unable to return to their homeland due to lack of funds. Many International students are struggling as they are not sure about their stay in the country when their visa expires.

There are many decisions that haven’t been made and amid this situation. Organisations need to make decisions and provide a meaningful framework for their students sooner so that they have less mental pressure. Every organisation should work together to ensure safety and take decisions to keep essential operations running effectively.

An integrated system should work together to design solutions. In order to function smoothly, it is important to find immediate problems. For instance, problems faced by staffs, teachers and other stakeholders. The solution to the identified problems should be effective and quick keeping in mind all the segments of the community. The solution designed should be implemented effectively and explained properly, so that people adapt easily to the changes. At these hard times, all the institutions need to act strategically as one wrong decision can create massive problems.

How Early Childhood Education is affected?

Childhood educational programs are for children below the age of 3. These include preschools, nursery schools, kindergartens and daycare programs. Thus, the impact on childhood education is different on various levels. Some countries have adopted online learning for children whereas some countries think they are too young to sit in front of the devices.

Countries like the United States where children daycare centres play a vital role are keeping them open so that healthcare workers can attend their work of saving the country from this global pandemic. Some schools are designing early learning programs for parents to teach their children at home during this tough time. For children attending primary and secondary schools, the course works are being designed in such a way that to include their coursework, assessment, quality into the program.

Tertiary Education:

Undergraduate degrees, diplomas or any vocational courses are considered as tertiary education which is not compulsory.

The closure of universities all around the globe has caused the implication of stringent rules that do not work in favour of these students. Many schools and colleges are struggling with fresh graduates. There are no placements and job opportunities for them during this pandemic.

The graduates are struggling to find themselves a proper job as the economy is curbing down with many giant companies are freezing their hire. This will change everyone’s perception about graduating as it is not a promising option to get a job whilst the economy is collapsing. The global pandemic has shattered the whole education system but it is important to understand that through digitalisation and innovation we will come out of these hardships even stronger.

International students who wish to study abroad are not considering abroad studies as an option. The major countries that have been an attraction to most students like UK, USA, Europe, Canada will see a drastic decline in the percentage of students coming to study.

It will take time to go back to normal as people will fear even after this situation ends. International students are a major source of revenue for many countries but this year that revenue is going to be affected negatively. In the years to come, students might choose online courses from top universities until we feel normal and safe.

What is the Future of Education System after Covid-19?

Digitisation

The education system has experienced the slowest pace changes globally. At times like this, we are compelled to think of new innovative ways instead of following centuries-old lecture-based model. The global pandemic is acting as a catalyst for all the educational institutions to think differently and find an efficient alternative within a short period of time.

Schools are now teaching students through various interactive apps. Google classroom is another innovative platform which provides students with reading materials and also has the face to face video instructions augmented. It becomes challenging to teach subjects like physical education through online learning but teachers are finding creative ways of creating their own videos and sending to students to do it as their homework. This is also helping students to gain expertise in digital innovation. As students will shoot the video, edit it, and then sending the video in the correct format to their teacher.

5G is going to bring the next big wave of digitisation and innovation. It will help students to learn anything anywhere anytime. New learning modes will be incorporated by schools with a physical presence like live broadcasts, virtual reality and augmentation. This will imbibe learning as a daily habit among students.

Educational Partnership will Flourish

Every education institute has many stakeholders which can be government, educational professionals, telecom and network providers, publishers, journalists or writers. Every stakeholder plays an important role and they can come together digitally and utilise the platforms to find a solution to this temporary crisis.

The education funded by the government can see this as a great opportunity to bring various stakeholders together. In some countries, a group of professionals from diverse fields have come together to develop an online learning and broadcasting platform to enhance Education led by the government. Hong-Kong, for instance, has brought 60 professionals and educational organisations together which includes media, publishers, entertainment and industry people to collate and prepare 900 educational assets like books, videos, chapters and assessment tools which are freely accessible to everyone.

Through examples like these, we understand that innovation in education is the need of the hour in order to prevent our education system from collapsing. This pandemic will make cross-industry partnerships possible and common around the globe.

Digitalisation Can Widen the Society Gap

The schools in the most affected areas are finding solutions to narrow the gap between all the sections of society. The quality of teaching will not only depend on the faculties but also on the quality of digital access available to the student.

Many students in developing countries do not have easy and affordable access to these technologies. They are still struggling to have WhatsApp or e-mail for that matter. Parents who are not technologically advance can feel left behind during this transition. Thus, these students will face a major challenge and lose out even more. The limitations and copyrights that will come with unequal access to educational resources will impact every student with limited resources.

Hence, the cost of access to those resources should be drastically reduced to help, everyone to come on board with these technological advancements. Else, who knows our children might end up standing on the exact opposite poles.

Virtual Public Readings and Materials

Publishers will focus on printing as well as virtual publications of their material from various libraries and classrooms. The writers association and publishers will come together to agree on an arrangement to provide unlimited educational content to all the students.

An agreement took place in Australia, where the Australian Publishers Association, Australian Library and Information Association and Australian Society of Authors cafe together to allow libraries to provide educational content.

In the Netherlands, advocacy organisation launched a website to give licence for all music and video of their classes. World Intellectual Property Organisation, has issued a coalition of 500 civil society organisation a special set of exceptions to copyright during the pandemic. In New Zealand, publishers have come together to allow virtual public readings of their materials.

Many organisations are coming together to explain the complexity of the situation. A copyright team under the National Copyright Unit of Australia, handling copyright policy and administration of Australian schools have revised a set of recommendations for using licensed content for the parents and supporting staffs.

Learning Outcome

Online learning depends on multiple factors on how it can be effective. Schooling provides an environment where students can ask spontaneous questions. They get an opportunity to interact with each other which will help them grow and develop. It becomes challenging for parents with limited education and resources when they are asked to help their children with tasks assigned to them online.

The drop-out rate might increase, it is very challenging for schools and colleges to make sure that all enrolled students return to their classes after the closure ends. Schools are not only bodies that provide education but it is also an opportunity to learn extra activities that shape them as an individual and help them grow.

One day the Pandemic would come to an end and we are wholeheartedly waiting for those days where you won’t be locked up in a computer screen to learn the invaluable but to relish every aspect that you get nowhere but in school.

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