During the pandemic, much of the people’s lives have been changed beyond recognition. The economy and the business world had seen such a tremendous shift. But when it comes to the effects of the pandemic, education was not spared.
Education is, of course, a universal human right. One of UN’s Millennium Development is to have a universal primary education for both boys and girls. But event with this emphasis on education, there is still a struggle in achieving this goal.
Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, the education sector has taken a different turn. As the pandemic is a healthcare crisis, protocols should be followed. Children need to stay at home during quarantine, which had been a challenge for everyone involved in a child’s education.
Effect of the Pandemic
The primary affected ones are the children themselves. There’s a different approach to learning as every child develops from toddlers to teenagers and young adults. What the pandemic has robbed the children is the interaction and the chance to socialize with other children. Schools are not just a place of learning but a place to socialize. Socializing is an important part of the learning process for children. What socializing agents like schools does is allow children to learn about this as they grow up.
Interaction is as important as what they get to learn in school. These are just some invaluable lessons that children get from kindergartens and elementary schools. Staying at home to quarantine means interaction is scarce. And this has adverse effects on children. Staying at home with no interaction makes children more vulnerable to acting up and irritation. Energies must be contained. Parents who are also within the household might not rightly understand the sudden outbursts of children, which can lead to miscommunication between child and parents.
For students of higher education, most classes today are held online. This sudden and quick transition to digitalization in education has brought the importance of taking education to the next level. Education needs to adapt to the changing times. Utilize technology and other teaching methods to bring the learning to the students.
This is a struggle, especially for most students who are disenfranchised. Without access to gadgets and the internet, it is impossible to partake in online classes. With that, many students have opted to forego schooling indefinitely until such time that face-to-face classes are possible. The number of enrollees had seen a drop.
This is also definitely a challenge to educators. With how fast everything transitioned, teachers quickly changed their lesson plans and accommodated the health protocols and guidelines to ensure that students could cope. That said, many teachers struggled with the sudden change of medium of teaching. They have to utilize the online spaces to compensate for the lack of interaction in classes. In some instances, even gadgets are not readily available for teachers.
It also a challenge for parents. Some have no background in homeschooling their children, and now they have to learn how to juggle teaching with everything else they are doing at home. It extra responsibility for parents, now they must also teach their children.
What the pandemic has exposed is how education is still not a universal right for everyone. It continues to be a privilege for only some. Countries with a good public education system and are fully supported by the government are in a good situation. But not everybody is the same.
The challenge for most schools is how to reopen, even in the time of the pandemic. Even if the pandemic subsides, schools can still be considered high risk as they will contain many students in one place. While the schools and governments are considering reopening, Others are opting for a blended way of learning for students in which they utilize both online and face-to-face learning. This is a good sign because it keeps the learning atmosphere dynamic and still adheres to the healthcare protocols.
Public schools in different states should consider the current state of covid-19 infection. For example, in Salt Lake City, public k-12 schools, specifically public schools like middle schools, high schools, universities, and colleges, are mandated by the government to wear masks. Because of the pandemic, the state of Utah has also designated a specific protocol that everyone must follow.
This is just an example of how collectively, the education sector can bounce back from the pandemic. There’s still a lot to understand about the current situation, which can help institutions deal with it. The industry needs to take measures to ensure that students continue to get the quality education they deserve.