How Covid Is Impacting The Education Industry?
There are connections to Education and Real Estate, how the changes to Education affect our next generations and how potentially Real Estate commercial space use as well as proximity to residences may change poses some questions. Online education has been implemented and here to stay, how did we get there?
Enjoy this latest blog featuring a guest blog writer:
How Covid Is Impacting The Education Industry
The education industry across the globe took a major hit in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. As of September 30, 2020, more than 1.6 billion students from across the globe were affected by school closures due to Covid-19. This is according to reports from UNICEF. The report also noted that the number of affected students makes up more than 61.6 percent of all the students in the world. The coronavirus pandemic has indeed led to a paradigm shift in the global education sector.
Covid-19 and Global Education
On March 11, the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic. Major cities with high infection rates had no option but to temporarily suspend all non-essential services. Students were forced to stay at home. Shortly after, UNESCO launched the Global Education Coalition in response to the pandemic.
The primary goal of this organization is to ensure the smooth transition from physical classroom learning to digital learning in line with social distancing policies. They have assisted all 150 member countries in dealing with the rapid and unprecedented changes in the educational sector. This coalition has helped to protect the interest of students and teachers in many countries that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Adjusting to the Paradigm Shift
On August 4, the Lebanese government was forced to initiate a total lockdown of 169 villages. Students in these areas stopped going to schools as only pharmacies and bakeries were allowed to stay open. Thanks to their collaboration with UNESCO, over 200,000 students across 1,000 schools in the country were enrolled in virtual learning programs. They had access to almost 300 video lessons, brochures, and a host of guides to help them transition. The distant learning program went on until recently when in-person teaching was reestablished and students were allowed to return to schools.
At the time of writing, the United States had officially reported over 13.2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus. There have been 265,000 deaths across ages, races, and classes. While distant learning has been a go-to option for many schools, parents and learners have observed numerous drawbacks attached to virtual learning. College and older high-school students have been able to adjust more easily but younger learners have not benefited as much. There are still a lot of inequities in the distant learning system. Nonetheless, teachers and schools are trying to innovate and adapt to what might become the new normal.
In Senegal, a collaboration between Huawei, Microsoft, UNESCO, and the Ministry of Education has allowed millions of students to learn from home. The country's distant learning platform is incorporated with Microsoft and it has allowed these students to learn remotely. Huawei took charge of distributing the platform for excellent connectivity and easy navigation. Teachers have also benefited from this platform.
Drawbacks of Virtual Learning
While the virtual learning system helps curb infection rates among learners, it comes with many challenges. Some are listed below:
· Students have to deal with a never-ending feeling of isolation
· More time is required to complete online courses effectively compared to in-person classes
· Procrastination can set in easily with online learning
· Only students with good time management skills can pace themselves well for virtual classes
· Online learning offers learners a little too much freedom
· It exacerbates educational inequalities
UNESCO has tried hard to ease the transition from in-person learning to virtual learning in many countries but these challenges listed above have been the concern of many parents. Things have been tougher in developing countries. In Samoa, Vodafone raised $7.5 million to provide free educational information for teachers and students. While Samoa is yet to record any case of Covid-19, the island has been taking preventive measures to ensure that the virus never gets to its shores.
Apart from providing learners with distant learning resources, a Global Skills Academy was formed shortly after the pandemic was declared. The Global Skills Academy partnered with companies like Microsoft, Coursera, Orange Digital Centers, Dior, Festo, PIX, IBM, and Huawei to provide over 1 million youths with digital skills. UNESCO and UNEVOC handle the matching progress and youths learn skills like software engineering, web development, web design, writing, and so much more.
The Global education system was not prepared for the challenges that came with the Covid-19 pandemic. While the global response was swift some of the damages that have been done might never be undone.