During the pandemic, life, as we know it, has ceased to exist. All spheres of life have been affected by the precautions taken to limit the spread of the virus. Education is perhaps the most affected sector. Without a traditional school setting, there is no alternative other than online classes.
It doesn’t matter whether you are pursuing a career as an engineer or a doctor; if you are enrolled in a school or college, you must be facing some serious challenges right now.
Over the years, we have heard about remote colleges. Due to advancements in the internet, people have online options as well. Hence, online education during the pandemic should not be a problem. However, the reality is far from it.
While many students have continued their education through online schooling, some are forced to curtail their studies.
According to a report by the United Nations, the pandemic has led to “exacerbating pre-existing education disparities by reducing the opportunities for many of the most vulnerable children, youth, and adults.” Children with a low-income background have suffered the most during COVID-19. According to an article by the World Bank, due to the pandemic, about 1.6 billion children in 161 countries are out of school. This disparity also exists in the US, including countries such as France, Germany, Italy, and the UK. About 60% of parents could not find an alternative for school and day-cares in these countries.
It is these problems and challenges that education is facing, which should help educationists recognize the issues and find solutions for them.
Teachers and students not familiar with technology have to use it daily in online learning. The need for technological innovation in education has become quite apparent.
For this, apps and software, such as Zoom and WhatsApp, have become increasingly common among teachers.
Most importantly, people are now understanding the importance of public schools and acknowledging the hard work that teachers put in.
School provides a structure for children’s lives. Not only does it offer formal education, but it also helps them in learning social skills from interaction with their peers, which is a life-long skill.
Many welfare organizations have stepped forward in assisting the educational community to disseminate education on a large-scale.
Schools must realize the importance of technology in education. Moving forward, they need to incorporate technology-based courses in their curriculum.
Not everyone has access to the internet and computer, which does not provide equal opportunities for students. Students from low-income backgrounds, in particular, have faced many challenges. Although these children were always vulnerable, the pandemic has highlighted their struggles. In addition to this, in households with more than one child, children may not have access to a laptop. What happens when all children require a computer at the same time? Since classes are at the same time, a lack of availability of computers becomes a concern for students.
Moreover, conducting tests and assessments online is a challenge. Students do not have the environment to take a test. Also, making sure that all students have the same learning environment is impossible, which affects their ability to grasp concepts and keep up with their peers.
In addition to this, many teachers and students have struggled with online classes. Many teachers and professors lacked the technical skills for operating a laptop and conducting online classes. Schools have struggles to provide technical assistance and guidance for teachers.
Online classes also put students’ privacy at risk. A student’s data can be stolen by hackers and cybercriminals. It is where cybersecurity could provide a solution.
Where there are challenges, there are also opportunities for one to learn from. Despite the challenges that education is facing, schools and educationists must work to reduce the disparity between students. Also, they need to use technology to help them in this regard.
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