There is immense ambiguity looming over the post-Corona world and the experts across the globe are engrossed in calculating the aftermath of the pandemic, speculating its impact on various sectors and its implications on GDP, inflation unemployment and the global economy,
With the disruption of academic schedules and the suspension of classes over a prolonged period at schools, colleges, and universities; the education sector has been significantly impacted. Furthermore, the unplanned closure has left everybody clueless and has played havoc with all the plans for completing the syllabus and courses within the academic year.
With no other choice, the students and faculty have confined to their homes, and education institutions are exploring ways to keep their students engaged virtually and ensure the completion of their courses. Many educational institutions that were not well-equipped to virtually connect with their students and conduct online classes have now started leveraging technology and are connecting with their students through video conferencing facilities.
But to achieve the universal potential of technology and improve the learning outcomes, the connectivity must reach even the remotest and poorest communities. Access to the internet and technology has become a basic need in this information age and these digital capabilities with the required infrastructure must reach to every nook and corner.
However, as the world heads towards the great unknown, it is best to adjust and adapt to the new normal. These are some of the disruptions in the form of new learnings, new perspectives and new trends that will emerge and likely to come into action in the post-COVID-19 world.
1. Fewer kids will return to school and go out of town or overseas to study: Many parents feel that schools and colleges can be breeding grounds for the virus to spread, hence, they are scared of sending their children again to schools and colleges especially not anytime soon or till the virus is still to be brought at the leash. Parents are ready for their wards to drop a year but they are not risking their lives, whatsoever. No matter the travel bans have been lifted but students and their parents will prefer online mode of education to keep safe.
2. Social distancing will be more prevalent than ever: The virus has built many invisible walls and the same will be seen in school libraries, playgrounds, campuses, and even in classrooms. Most of the educational institutions are likely to have two-three shifts of classes so that the teachers and students can maintain social distancing.
3. The role of teachers will be re-defined: Going forward, the role of teachers will get redefined. From a knowledge provider, it will become more of a facilitator. In today's time, students can gain access to knowledge with a few clicks on their phones, tablets, etc. Hence, teachers will have to play a crucial role in their physical, mental, emotional well-being, and development which are beyond the chapters of books and classrooms.
4. Distance learning courses might get a boost: Well, with most learning headed to go digital, distance learning will no longer remain an option for students who did not get admissions elsewhere or who cannot afford regular education. All these biases will be removed and keeping social distancing and online learning in mind, distance learning is ought to become the first choice of many students across the world. The new world with new jobs will demand new skills and this is the time to acquire them not directly but virtually and through digital mediums. There is a gamut of online courses on the internet from where students can learn and which will give them an edge in the job market.
5. Reskilling & Upskilling will gain momentum: A lot of surveys have indicated that many jobs in the pre-Corona world will no longer exist in the afterworld and hence, many people will lose their jobs and/or face a lack of job prospects. Vocational courses may also see a significant uptick as more and more students will opt for courses that train them for the jobs of tomorrow. It is critical that the young population is well-prepared to face the challenges ahead by acquiring the right skills at the right time.
Universities and colleges should analyze the steps already taken by other educators to understand what has worked, what hasn't worked, and how to tackle the challenges they may face. Nonetheless, the education sector has withstood turbulent economic times in the past, and it will withstand them again. In fact, they are better placed to ensure continuous education to the students, in this digital age.
The most important lesson that this pandemic has taught us is that we must not restrict learning within the four walls of the classrooms but liberate it from the outdated curricula and experiment with novel ways of survival in the new normal world.
Author: Ms Shikha Banerjee, Principal, Seth Anandram Jaipuria School Kanpur
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