Covid-19 leads to a revolution in education, which is long overdue

Written in 21 May 2020 by @admin2

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Covid-19 leads to a revolution in education, which is long overdue
General

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  • Universities have been forced to go online due to the pandemic
  • This is one step on the path to a new paradigm for education
  • A new model will emerge following Covid-19

Although economies globally have been battered by the pandemic so too have education systems, affecting developed and developing countries.  It is estimated that 1.5 billion (almost 90%) students, including primary, secondary and tertiary, are not attending a traditional school.  The impact of this has been dramatic and has transformed education, as schools rush to start online teaching and learning.  This is even more difficult in developing countries, as there are additional challenges due to the cost and the infrastructure available.

Even though all segments of education are facing challenges, it will probably be the higher education area that sets off a learning revolution.  Students attending universities are unique as their students are old enough to manage online work and have the technical knowledge to work with the new platforms.  This puts universities in a distinctive position to lead this revolution.  One main challenge is the institution itself.  How will a traditional university-based on campus select the best technology and approaches to education and engage all students?  As this starts, we will all have a better understanding of the possibilities.

At present universities are saved by video conferencing apps such as Zoom and Webex.  Despite this some lecturers are not able to get the same level of engagement as they previously had with their students in the traditional classroom.  They need to find solutions quickly to avoid a drop in the quality of the lectures they are providing.  Coursera, an online education platform, has a presence globally, and have the skills in online programme design, the choice of platform, and marketing to play a helpful role with the traditional lecturers.

The online segment of the market is only a small part of the $2.2 trillion tertiary education market.  The market intelligence company HolonIQ says it is less than 2%.  Following Covid-19 students will be more interested in these online programs.  Before the pandemic, there was an increase in interest from students.  Traditional institutions may have seen online education as a threat to their courses, but it may have become their lifeline.

This recent move to online solutions is unprecedented.  For educators, it has been like a ‘first aid’ response that has had to be done due to the closure of campuses.  This first step is just the beginning of more online learning.  The partnerships forged during this pandemic between technology and online education could well continue after the pandemic.

The pandemic may regenerate our education systems.  All stakeholders, including educators, learners, society and government, in all countries, regardless of their level of development, have a better understanding of the present systems, their strengths and weaknesses.  We have seen how crucial it is for people to be literate in the digital world, when some restrictions may become the norm for all of us.  Covid-19 has forced us to challenge all notions on the delivery of education, and the roles we all play.

The pandemic has also shown our dependency on the ‘lower-skilled’ workers, who keep our economies and lives moving.  While we are in shutdowns, it is more often than not these people who continue to work shifts so deliveries continue and maintain our basic needs.  Eventually, automation may take over these jobs, but most jobs of the future will require workers to have higher skills.  This has become an economic imperative.

Covid-19 can be compared with the First Industrial Revolution.  New systems of education emerged then, and a new model is likely to come from Covid-19.

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