How the pandemic is bringing change in the education system

The writer is a senior journalist
By: Farzana Ali Khan

The Covid- 19 pandemic has sparked a global realization that our current way of life does not work. It has broken our perception of what is normal and deconstructed society as we know it.

One such critical area, where the need for change has become evident, is education. The effects of the corona virus and thereby its preventive measures, has upended the life of students, parents and teachers.

Aspects that were once considered fundamental to education may be revised to largely accommodate life skills of the future.

The clear disruption in the ‘normal’ functioning of education has placed an emphasis on many questions, which were previously asked and subsequently left unanswered.

So, what could the current effects of this global pandemic mean for the future of education? To answer these questions, which pertain to modernization and efficiency, a lot of factors must be considered.     

Given the period we have spent in lockdown and the observations of our abrupt transition to online learning, we’ve found the time to think and the direction in which we must apply our efforts.We have not only been given a chance to rethink the education sector but also the opportunity to visualize how it can evolve in tandem with our changing world.

The course of learning and the way curriculums are taught may change. Aspects that were once considered fundamental to education may be revised to largely accommodate life skills of the future.

Not just careers, but also residents of the future as well will require skills like resilience, adaptability, collaboration, communication, empathy, creativity and emotional intelligence.

Learning in schools/ Institutions will have a new purpose, and it will be a major deviation from the information-focused education of today.

Aside from the disruption faced due to the novel corona virus, education in our developing world has experienced some major changes. Yet, even in the face of rapid innovation, we have yet to shift the way in which we impart education.

Learning is the acquisition of knowledge, but it doesn’t have to solely occur through age-old methods that do not utilize the highest potential of the brain. Instead of being taught, can students be given an experience that influences their learning?

Approaches like integrated learning and experiential learning, with greater implementation of technology, will power the future the education in Institutions.

In the face of this crippling pandemic, technology has emerged as a major lifesaver. Communication is a major key to our interconnected existence and technology is the driving force that maintains our connections.

For education, that means creating content and delivery systems that harness and utilize technology to its fullest.

Perhaps, education may become more flexible and accessible, relinquishing its over-reliance on rigid structures that we currently consider necessary.

They are generations that are defined by their use of technology; it has become an extension of their consciousness and they do not know a world without it.

The future of education will find no room to ignore the utilization of technology since it may very well be the best platform to empower learning in an age that is integrating technology as a way of life.

These generations could influence the evolution of education, as they themselves are the ones majorly impacted by the pandemic and are in the best position to learn and grow from it. How will we ask students to go back to a way of life that compromises their physiological, emotional and mental health? Will we still ask students to get up to attend school/institution at a time when their brains aren’t suitably active?

Will we teach students about protecting the environment while asking them to sit in buses that move through traffic and leave a large carbon footprint? The world could require a different focus tomorrow than it does today.

Perhaps, post-Covid- 19 education will embrace learnings from science and emphasize a greater focus on issues that endanger our health, society, life and earth.

Covid-19 may have been the catalysis for a change that has been long pending. What we will witness in the aftermath of this global health crisis may very likely be the adoption of approaches that were sought in it.

Possibly, the world may never go back to what it was pre-pandemic. But we can count on it to adapt to the future, irrespective of what it contains.

While the damage to the sector is similar to the damage every sector across the world is facing, it is possible that with some careful planning, we might be able to limit the long-term consequences of this prolonged shutdown.

The above points will at least reduce the gap in learning that students are likely to experience if the institutions continue to remain shut for long. This may also help in addressing the possible increase in drop-outs due to the long shutdown.

 Additionally, there is a need to develop a financial stimulus for the education sector primarily targeting low cost private aided and unaided institution – which are likely to witness a reduction in fee collections, due to income losses.

The writer is Bureau Chief at JeeveyPakistan, a NewsWeb. She is a former reporter at The News International and Daily Dawn Karachi, Peshawar & Islamabad. She is an IVLP Alumni and can be reached at [email protected]