“With COVID-19, we’ve made it to the life raft. Dry land is far away,” said epidemiologist Marc Lipsitch back in March 2020, when educational institutions all around the world started closing their doors.
This pandemic has proved to be an unprecedented ‘social earthquake’ that has dramatically changed the face of our civilization. The education system is among the most seriously affected areas alongside the health and economic sector.
Researchers say that the lockdown has affected the lives of more than 1.6 billion learners in about 200 countries. Thus, more than 94% of the world’s student population has suffered from the closures of educational institutions.
In the words of Sumitra Pokhrel and Roshan Chhetri, “the COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest disruption of education systems in human history.”
When educational institutions started looking for an adequate alternative to face-to-face learning, many switched to an online mode.
And while online education seems to be the optimal answer to the challenges brought about by the pandemic, it also poses many problems both for teachers and students. Some of these problems can be dealt with by resorting to the help of specialized educational apps or professional paper writing services where you can purchase cheap research papers.
But, unfortunately, very little can be done to tackle the feeling of isolation and loneliness that prevents the learners from doing their best in their studies.
Below we have summed up the effects that COVID-19 has had on the education system across the world in 6 key theses.
1. Learning Losses
Though educators around the world have made every effort to minimize the negative effect
of the abrupt closure of schools, colleges, and universities and the urgent switch to distance learning, learning
losses were clearly inevitable.
Researchers from Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have
confirmed the sad conclusion about significant learning losses. These losses have proved to be much more severe in
families where parents are less educated. At the same time, in families with a higher income level, children have
received more support from their parents during the lockdown.
2. Growth of Social Inequality
“This pandemic has magnified every existing inequality in our society – like systemic racism, gender inequality, and poverty,” said Melinda Gates.
What is more, according to the World Bank experts, the learning losses caused by the pandemic “could translate into less access to higher education, lower labor market participation, and lower future earnings,” thus significantly increasing the pre pandemic social divide.
3. Increased Pressure on Parents
The necessity to take care of children when schools are closed during the lockdown has
been a major blow to the parents‘ productivity. Many working mothers were forced to stay at home for the lockdown period, and some of them have lost their jobs.
The situation is especially dramatic in the health care sector, where the majority of hygienists and nurses are female. Thus, the pandemic has significantly decreased the share of female workers in the labor force and seriously widened the existing gender gap.
4. Rise of the Online Education
While, in the first place, online learning is a challenge for educators, students, and parents, it has also been full of new opportunities.
Within an extremely short time, many educational institutions have brought into life huge e-learning projects they have been meaning to implement for years.
In addition, an essential benefit of online education is its potential to provide support for physically challenged students who get more opportunities to participate in the learning process in the online environment.
5. Multiple Psychological Issues
While remote learning can certainly be seen as a functional ‘life raft,’ its key limitations are the lack of face-to-face communication and the feeling of isolation.
These negative factors reduce motivation, affect academic results, and can even lead to depression. To cope with this dangerous effect, many educational institutions have resorted to using face-time apps, social media, email, etc.
6. Urgent Changes in the Assessment
The assessment of learning outcomes has been most seriously affected by the pandemic. In many cases, educators have managed to move assessment sessions to the virtual environment. However, many of the exams have had to be postponed or even canceled.
The search for optimal assessment tools and ways to maintain a high level of academic integrity is still in its active phase.
No one would argue with the sad notion that we cannot yet put the Coronavirus pandemic
in the rearview mirror. Its effect is vast and often devastating in most spheres of human activity.
Many solutions have yet to be introduced, but one of the more basic things we can all
start doing right now is developing the growth mindset in ourselves and supporting it in others.
Students with a fixed mindset find the switch to a new learning routine stressful and
often fail to cope with it, but those who believe in the power of “YET” manage to stay flexible and prosper even under
the most trying circumstances.