Such a brave new world… 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. Standing tall, despite it all.
Unfortunately, as the world grieves at such big losses due to the impact of the pandemic, 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 at present, 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. The sad reality of this pandemic is the fact that its effects have the potential to 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 completely disrupts the lives of lots of children, their parents, and teachers too.
Important Issues to Focus on
Due to school closures, losses in learning is undeniable.
Losses in learning are highly evident, add to that the fact of how unequal education systems in most countries are. Sad, but it is entirely true. 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 inequality in education 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 be able to continue their education through online learning and 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 as a result of 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 up 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 a good 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 responses by the educational sector on the impact of the pandemic should not create even bigger problems and negative effects on the learning of poor children.
end of part 1