How education can emerge stronger than before Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic caused social and economical disruptions worldwide, yet this is an opportunity for the education sector to emerge the stronger for it.
At times, adversity carries with it potential for opportunity, innovation and learning. According to Unicef, the pandemic affected more than 1.6 billion pupils worldwide in July last year, compared to 825 million in January of this year. This is a clear indication that the education sector is quickly adapting and transitioning from the classroom to online modes of teaching and learning.
Adaptability and resilience with blended learning should not be just buzz words. These two words should be instrumental in minimising the interruption in the academic processes caused by the pandemic and be the criterion of education in the future. Technology should also be used sensibly, and not indiscriminately.
The global pandemic has highlighted a hole in the education system. According to a study conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training, more than 27% of the 18 188 pupils surveyed did not have access to laptops or smartphones, not to mention data. All stakeholders, from the government to schools, need to play an active role in bridging this gap.
To keep up with the rapid advances, the teaching community has to be adequately trained and skilled. In the same breath, teacher-training institutions should also play an important role in creating skills that meet the demands and expectations of this modern education.
And as we forge ahead towards a workable future, the education sector must not ignore students with special needs, who were most severely affected by this pandemic because of their greater reliance on personalised learning. It needs to create robust platforms for students with different learning abilities to ensure that no one is left behind in intellectual growth.
With the introduction of vaccines, the reopening of schools, colleges and universities looks brighter than it did a year ago. The education sector will have to look beyond the narrow outlook of return to normalcy, and introduce several changes to emerge stronger in the post-Covid era.