4 ways the education sector has been
transformed due to the pandemic
Here are some valuable lessons that schools can or have learned from this on-going situation of Covid-19 pandemic.
By Prodipta Hore, Program Director, Aditya Birla Education Academy
As we reflect on the effect that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the education system, and the shortcomings it has highlighted both during and post lockdowns, it has taught tttus multiple lessons. The most important one being how the education system needs to change to be able to better prepare our systems and learners for what the future might hold. The pandemic has put restrictions on the traditionally practiced classroom-based teaching and learning in schools, compelling these institutes to shift to digital learning platforms for both teaching and student assessments.
We bring you some valuable lessons that schools can or have learned from this on-going situation.
• Focus on mental health: One of the most crucial and alarming lessons learnt from this pandemic is the importance of focusing on mental health. Because the world is going through an unsettled and traumatic time collectively, it is easier to talk about isolation, the emotions this has provoked, and how each person copes with the situation differently. This openness should remain even post the pandemic, irrespective of what education looks like in the future. Every new educational policy should incorporate the mental health not only of students but also that of the educators along with the non-academic staff, developing strategies that benefit their psychological well-being. The education system must take from this and emphasize on fostering responsibility in students so that they become members committed to their community who know how to work co-operatively.
• Digital/online learning is key: Due to the pandemic, most institutions were forced to move their courses to the online environment, using learning and administrative platforms such as Zoom, Google classroom or Microsoft teams. Such collaborative tools allow the teacher to upload resources, teach through virtual classrooms, and track the performance of students. Having digital platforms and the right technical equipment will not only help with a quick transition to the online environment but also support the administrative aspects.
It is very important for educational institutions to constantly review whether their platforms or technologies have become outdated or could prevent them from responding effectively in the event of a crisis like that of the on-going pandemic. While most of them have faced multiple challenges in the initial days, online distance education has become the new normal now and is here to stay. Schools have gathered that the way forward is to further harness accessible technologies and the internet in education, and that blended learning will become an integral element of school education.
• Access to tools for upskilling: Educational institutions and teachers have come to realize the importance of upskilling in the last 9 months. With a number of opportunities for teachers to attend free trainings and access e-learning tools, the education system has come closer during the Pandemic. Institutions have also made investments in the professional development of their teachers which has helped them progress well into the blended learning model. This period along with the launch of the NEP 2020 has been an eye-opener towards the need for teacher training and development.
• Creating a more resilient education system: School education is currently undergoing unparalleled difficulties and challenges during this pandemic. This has shown us how vulnerable and unprepared our system is, including physical infrastructure and lack of training to meet any unforeseen events. The crisis has made people and schools realize the need to build a more resilient education system to ensure continuity of teaching and learning under any given circumstances. To attain this transformation, schools and other educational institutions must exert effort to capitalize on IT, provide vocational training for teachers and enhance their capacities, engage in a comprehensive digital transformation, as well as the goals and final outputs of the educational system. Finally, although the pandemic and quarantine arrived without a warning and educational institutions had to familiarize quickly to ensure academic continuity, we must take advantage of this crisis to pause, analyze, and rethink on the education systems that we have known until now!
Schools and other educational institutions must exert effort to capitalize on IT, provide vocational training for teachers and enhance their capacities, engage in a comprehensive digital transformation, as well as the goals and final outputs of the educational system.
The education system needs to change to be able to better prepare our systems and learners for what the future might hold. Prodipta Hore is Program Director at Aditya Birla Education Academy.