Coronavirus was a transformative global event. The Covid-19 pandemic affected the whole world and with it came many significant changes. It disrupted and influenced the education sector drastically and affected all students and educators, not just in regard to academics but also in their broader health and wellbeing.
Overall, education has become increasingly more flexible and accessible for those across the world. We know now that every curriculum can be taught online – whilst still allowing students to learn alongside their peers meaning that they don’t feel isolated.
The trauma of a global pandemic created a strong focus on mental health for both teachers and students
After the historic period of disruption due to the Covid-19 pandemic, most schools across the globe are back to operating again. But the education industry is still massively in recovery and assessing the damage and lessons learned during the global pandemic.
The Covid-19 pandemic affected more than 1.5 billion students worldwide, with the most vulnerable learners having the greatest impact. This new post-covid reality of education presents opportunities and challenges for all. I believe some of the most significant ways the world’s view on education has changed since the pandemic include:
Embracing digital education
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the safest way to provide education to students was through online learning. This caused a massive shift that changed the way people viewed online education and its possibilities.
This shift also highlighted the disadvantage of not having proper access to fundamental technology. This caused an increased focus on supplying disadvantaged families with technology that can greatly aid children on their education journey.
Since the start of the pandemic, traditional schools embraced online learning practices and evolved them to suit their needs. This included the creation of online assemblies, video content for practical learning and demonstrations, digital classrooms, and shared learning sessions.
As many students were not attending school for some time during the pandemic, the current education curriculum needed to be revised. A recovery curriculum was implemented to help students catch up on learning that they missed, and it was realised that every aspect of the curriculum could be taught in a digital capacity online.
This restructuring of the curriculum allowed future curriculums to be better focused on effectively teaching learners without the need for overloading them. The view on education curriculums needs to shift focus to understanding the needs of pupils and be flexible to the wider needs of the educational community.
The physical safety of students in schools was brought to attention during the Covid-19 pandemic. There was an increased focus on the health of students which has resulted in schools encouraging students to wash their hands more thoroughly and more regularly, students having a greater distance between each other, and the avoidance of unnecessary gatherings.
School nurses will also have a more essential role in the future of healthy school environments. Their duties extend to important matters such as managing medications, liaising between public health departments, school staff, and families, promoting health education, and providing mental health services. They need to also be equipped to screen for Covid-19, conduct contact tracing, and manage isolation rooms for potentially infected students.
Blended learning methodology
Even after the pandemic subsides, schools will continue to offer blended learning – a mix of online and in-person education which allows learners to be more actively engaged in their own learning in collaboration with teachers. The benefits of this hybrid learning approach have been brought to light after the global pandemic and its application could become more and more commonplace.
The future of education will have a strong focus on digital literacy as technology is likely to play a more prominent role in education, even when everyone returns to the classroom.
Every school will need to determine a digital methodology and effectively communicate and teach it to all those involved. Teachers will also need to adapt their teaching practices to make use of online learning infrastructure and will need to develop new skills and comfort around using technology.
A focus on mental health
The trauma of a global pandemic created a strong focus on mental health for both teachers and students. Living through a pandemic and the economic difficulties it brought with it had a major toll on people’s mental health.
The education sector noticed and felt this damaging effect and many important conversations were had and new practices were put into place – some ingrained in personal habits, others implemented into employee contracts and school manifestos.
Stress can affect every system in your body—respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, and reproductive. This can then affect a student’s ability to listen and process information. So shifting education’s view on the importance of good mental health and supplying resources is vital for students.
Covid-19 meant that many parent’s priorities shifted, with more regard for their children’s wellbeing. Families are now able to access high-quality learning from their home, and with a new investment in technology and teacher skillset across the private education sector in hybrid teaching, there’s no learning lost for anyone, which is a huge improvement upon previous years.
Education will never be the same after being enlightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many beneficial changes will be implemented and many important conversations will continue to be had that will change the world’s view on education.
Nadim Nsouli is the founder of Inspired Education
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