No one could have imagined the world closing down in the 21st century. The scientists couldn’t have imagined something such as the novel coronavirus striking the world with full force and impacting our everyday lives.
This virus was discovered and originated in Wuhan, China in the year 2019. No one outside china took the virus seriously until the year 2020 when in march Coronavirus a.k.a Covid-19 became a global pandemic. The pandemic hit major countries in full force, whose impact was discovered in march 2020, which resulted in the world shutting down.
By shutting down we mean, closing down schools, colleges, universities, etc. Even several offices took the work from home option. The world was at a standstill, uncertain of what was to come.
Impacts of Covid on Education
A lot of schools and colleges thought at the time of closure, that this was only temporary. No one imagines a whole year would pass just like that with COVID-19 lurking in our school and college corridors.
While the educational institutions were shut down, the colleges struggled with online education and resources, internet connection, etc. The following things happened in our educational sector around the world when the institutions shut down:
- 75% of the school all over the world are operating fully or partially online. This means holding online classes on zoom and Google Classroom.
- Students were promoted to the next class in the year 2020, without any exams. Given that April, March, and May were the months of final examinations. And with the uncertainty going around due to COVID-19, the government decided to promote the kids anyway.
- Student loans, fees, and tuition fees were suspended. Several colleges gave covid relief to the students in terms of financial aid.
- There were negative impacts of the pandemic as well, where parents took their kids out of school and colleges. Since studies were becoming challenging.
- Enrollment in school and colleges dropped significantly.
- Special education of religious subjects, such as nazra Quran and bible study faced challenges as well. A lot of mosques and churches were also shut down across the world. After a while, they also switched to online education though.
- Studying online is not easy. There are a lot of distractions. A lot of students reported that online education was not doing them any good and they struggled with focusing their attention on the online classes.
- Low-income groups, who do not have access to internet connection or smartphone/tablets were not able to take part in online education classes or use multiple resources.
- When the schools and educational institutions opened, a lot of students were bothered by the social distancing protocol of wearing a mask and maintaining distances. This resulted in a lot of chaos in campuses where students were violating the SOPs left and right, endangering the spread of the coronavirus.
Reopening of Educational Institutions with Safety Guidelines
A lot of schools, colleges, and institutions were opened as per government guidelines. However, the challenges they faced were equally hard. Enforcing the kids with social distancing protocols and making them wear a mask at all times has been the biggest challenge.
A lot of institutions set up a hard limit on the number of positive covid patients and once that limit was hit, the institute would have to shut down. These institutions became the hub of virus transformation.
Not only was the student a cause of concern for spreading the virus, but faculty members and staff of the institution were more likely to catch on to the virus which made it fairly dangerous as it would result in a domino effect.
Internet Access became a major concern for students and faculty members
Since education was given online for the majority part of the years, it became difficult for students to have access to digital technology in terms of laptops and smartphones and having a stable wifi connection.
Houses that had 4 to 5 kids in the houses, struggled with who should take the laptop? It became expensive for low-income groups to have access to online education and a large part of the world suffered a lot in terms of education.
A lot of students who use to rely on the resources of institutions for education were the ones who suffered. Because even though they wanted to learn they didn’t have the resources at home to accomplish that. And the government couldn’t provide a resource to every student who couldn’t access the education.
Online Education During the Pandemic
Despite the lack of resources and struggles being faced by the students and teachers, online education has been the only way that enabled education during lockdowns. Online education worked well with college students and for employee training etc.
So much so that we saw that a lot of courses were offered online during this year, with online certifications being given, etc. A lot of individuals made good use of this pandemic lockdown and enrolled themselves in online courses learning about codings, animations, digital marketing courses, Quran nazra courses, video making, etc. The number of enrollment in online classes increased significantly.
A lot of companies like google, apple, Unilever, Procter and gamble all introduced online certification courses for students and employees to keep them engaged. While normal office meetings were also being held online, training sessions were also given on online platforms.
Students still faced Challenges during online education
Online education was our only survival, while it worked well for a few, it didn’t work quite so well with families who had multiple young kids relying on one laptop for their online class, With clashes of class timings among siblings, also in some houses where adults had to work at home, that was another challenge.
For low-income groups online education has not worked well, For those who struggled with focusing their attention on class, online resources didn’t do any good. Those who didn’t have all the resources were and are deprived in this era of online education.