It’s not in doubt that the coronavirus disease has caused massive disruptions in the education system all over the world. In nearly every country where cases of the virus have been reported, one of the first containment measures deployed is the closure of all learning institutions. And that means one thing – losses in learning.
It is sad that countries hadn’t put any alternate measures to ensure uninteruppted studying while the pandemic lasts. And there doesn’t seem to be any urgent measures in that regard either.
The priority for most governments now is to contain the spread of the virus. That’s why the four main clarion calls are; wash your hands, put on a face mask, keep social distancing, and stay at home. The truth of the matter is that if we practice these measures, we may overcome the coronavirus disease. But after it settles, we will understand how much learning we’ve lost in the meantime.
Institutions might face the highest school dropout rates ever witnessed in our time. Remember that the longer students stay away from school, the more they lose touch with their studies. And the more we heed government directives to stay at home instead of going to work, the higher we risk getting laid off.
So, we’re looking at a scenario whereby the end of the pandemic, most students will have lost interest in education. And some of those still interested in pursuing their studies may be forced to make tough decisions, seeing as their parents may have lost their jobs.
Well, we all hope that we don’t get to those extremes. But to be safe, we must take proactive measures to salvage our education systems. One of those measures is to consider online learning even as we battle the scourge that’s the coronavirus disease.
Is Online Learning The New Norm In The Face Of COVID-19?
First, it’s important to stress that the coronavirus disease has affected the entire education system. But it’s also easy to observe that online learning hasn’t been affected as much as regular learning has. At least, students can still arrange for classes with their lecturers, and the entire learning process can still go on as normal.
Seeing as both tutors and students are mostly staying indoors, learning can proceed smoothly for several hours uninterrupted.
It’s also worth noting that the COVID-19 pandemic has stirred an even higher interest in online education. Smart students all over the world are relocating their studies online. Similarly, more teachers, especially those in private institutions who’ve been hit by huge pay cuts, are on the hunt for online tutoring vacancies.
Admittedly, the demand for online education might be at an all-time high. Many universities around the world are already considering moving most of their courses online.What do you think about Online Education In Indian Education System?
How effective will online education be in the long run?
In developed countries, it will be relatively easy for students to pursue their studies online during the pandemic. However, the same cannot be said about developing countries with huge disparities in their education systems.
It’s a fact that studying online is as easy as grabbing your laptop, hooking it up to the internet, and connecting with your tutor. But you must have a laptop and internet connection in the first place. In many developing countries, internet connection is almost exclusive to major urban centers. And a laptop is more of a luxury than it is a basic need.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, most families in developing countries will be more concerned about feeding their children, not buying them a laptop.
Then there’s also the challenge of exams. All over the world, state agencies have sanctioned examinations. For that to happen during this pandemic, governments will need to be sure that all school-going children have been engaged in some form of learning for them to be assessed. Do you know Why Should We Conduct Online Exams?
Therefore, governments may be a bit reluctant to rely exclusively on online learning strategies. That’s because doing so will mean that education becomes accessible only to children from privileged families.
We’re likely to see the government adopting other delivery methods that require less data usage. Examples include liaising with telecommunication firms to apply zero-rate policies that ensure students can download learning materials without paying the download fee. But since this might still lock out some children from poor backgrounds, the government may use the mass media tools, i.e., the Radio and Television, to try to reach even more students.
So, What Is The Fate of Online Learning In The Face Of COVID-19?
The coronavirus disease has caused a monumental surge in demand for online learning. Education ministries all over the world are burning the midnight oil brainstorming the best ways to move their curricula online for the time being. One thing is for sure though – it doesn’t matter how long it takes to contain the virus, the online learning landscape will change for good.