Such a brave new world in times of pandemic. No, scratch that, rather it should be “Such brave people in an uncertain world, dealing with the new normal routines.” Let us give ourselves pats on the back. Though we know that the pandemic is far from over, still, we are here today. We are standing tall, despite it all.
Unfortunately, as the world grieves at such significant losses due to the pandemic’s impact, the educational sector is one of the most seriously affected. As of March 28, 2020, the pandemic causes around 1.6 billion children and youth to be out of school. At that time, there were 161 affected countries, but there are more than 200 countries ravaged by the pandemic.
Today, we are experiencing a global learning crisis. It is quite saddening to see our children’s education has been disrupted abruptly. This pandemic’s sad reality is that its effects can worsen even more if we do not act fast.
What is happening right now might have an immediate impact on the children and youth. The sudden interruption of learning disrupts the lives of lots of children, their parents, and teachers too.
Essential Issues to Focus on
Due to school closures, losses in learning are undeniable.
Losses in learning are highly evident, add to the fact of how unequal education systems in most countries are. Sad, but it is entirely accurate. However, some things can be done to lessen the impact of the pandemic. One is through remote learning strategies as to what most affected countries are doing.
But then again, this approach poses a great challenge for students, teachers, and parents as well.
Rich countries may be prepared entirely going online, but for developing nations or even poorer countries, the situation is critical. If no appropriate action is taken, the gap in education inequality is sure to widen.
In reality, not all children have books, laptops/computers, internet connectivity at home, or even supportive parents to help them. Lucky are those who have, quite heartbreaking for those who don’t. Thus, disproportionately poor children will suffer the most.
As per UNICEF, “We must do more to ensure all children have equal access to learning. UNICEF calls upon governments to scale up home learning options, including no-tech and low-tech solutions, and prioritize Internet connectivity in remote and rural areas. Now is not the time to divert national funding for education but to reimagine education programs and bridge the digital divide.
With the plans to reopen schools in the coming months, some children are fortunate enough to continue their education through online learning. They can still have valuable collaborations with their teachers online. Also, this is a time when their parents get to guide them through online learning.
On the other hand, what will become of the percentage of children who may not be reached by online education? Loss in learning due to the pandemic will hit them the hardest. Not having the resources to continue their studies will put them at such a disadvantage. In this condition, it will be more difficult for them to recover. Therefore, the situation will add to more educational, economic, and social disadvantages.
This is a bleak and depressing image of the impact of the pandemic in the educational sector and the possible future of the generations to come if no appropriate solutions are done.
Many are highly concerned that implementing online learning will only ensure continuity in learning to some, while education is denied to others. It is a valid concern, knowing the kind of condition most countries are into. Therefore, the success of this approach depends highly on how the agencies utilize all the available tools that will aid continuity in learning for ALL.
Remote learning is not just about online learning. Taking advantage of all available tools is an excellent start to reach as many students as possible. All of this can strengthen the future education system in a country.
In this case, the educational agencies should do something to lessen or to avoid opening up more opportunities to increase these inequalities. Most importantly, the educational sector’s responses to the pandemic’s impact should not create even more significant problems and adverse effects on poor children’s learning.
end of part 1