What does the current system and news say about education in a COVID ridden world?
How Has COVID Changed the Education World?
As Hong Kong (and many other places) closes its schools once again due to fears of spread of COVID, education during these times is ever-so-confusing. As if going through the stress of the education system these times you also get to miss out on all the fun hanging out with colleagues and experiences extracurricular activities in person.
Moreover, a recent report (made jointly by UNESCO, UNICEF, and the World Bank) now says that “this generation of students stands at risk of losing $17 trillion in lifetime earnings, due to COVID-related school closures and economic shocks.” The negative results of this current pandemic are now exceeding even the worse expectations in a lot of ways. Then you add on the additional negative effects of the rise of general anxiety in kids and rise in domestic violence instances due to many factors (the pandemic being a major key), and things seem extra bleak. Another issue that gets added on is child labor which also affects kids out doing at-home schooling due to the pandemic effects. These issues may not just magically disappear once every school is opened forever, if that’s even possible anymore but let’s be positive on that front however the measurements taken by governments around the world are indeed warranted. The safety of the students and the teachers need to be on the forefront of every decision in regards to such issues. Nevertheless, the negative effects are also real and in reality there really isn’t much to blame other than the unprecedented pandemic. The education world has suffered a lot no matter how you look at it and it will unfortunately continue to suffer because of the nature the schooling system. The vaccinations have already proved effective though and generally, 2021 was more of a “normal” year than 2020 by a lot of metrics. Hopefully, 2022 moves the world forward towards a more sense of normality that we’ve grown to know before everything went to an unfamiliar place for every living human being on Earth.
News and Education in 2022 and the Path to Recovery
Looking at news circles throughout early 2022 you may find articles on how most young people can in fact not afford higher education due to social income inequalities, about how virtual learning can transform nursing education, and plans on budgeting for the education emergency during a pandemic. This does point to certain common themes that the current society is going through such as the pandemic, virtual learning, social inequality and how all those relate to one another. More so in sense that virtual and at-home learning can be difficult for people in relation to social inequality because not everyone can afford learning from home for numerous reasons. Children may have difficulties concentrating on actual learning and older students perhaps may not be able to afford the necessary technology to access all the online learning either.
What’s apparent is that the need to focus on the path to recovery very much exists. Reopening schools and keeping them open forever is likely the best way to move education forward in many ways. Not only does it improve the quality of learning but the general mental health of society will also get better. This, of course, is unfortunately a little out of the control of society due to the fact that the pandemic is rather unpredictable but we can hope for the best. In the meantime social distancing, masks, and most importantly vaccination will offer the best results in the fight against the current pandemic. This applies heavily to education whenever schools are open, as it is the best way to keep everyone safe until everyone gets out of this situation.
A further method to move forward with education as a necessity is to prioritize certain material which could cause some confusion as to which subjects deserve to be above others but, ultimately, could help in reducing risk and school-time. This could also help increase effectiveness in learning as well. Certainly, the health of teachers, especially those more advanced in age, should also be considered a top priority. Furthermore, general access to the learning and teaching material should also be part of the improvement plan.
These are all decent ideas to help lessen the shared anxiety most of the non-super-rich world is facing during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. Life hasn’t been the same for a while now, and it’s getting harder to tell what is considered normal and what not. The best thing to do is to always err towards caution, but it’s also good to realize that certain things are simply necessary for the world to function. Education is in a precarious state right now, but with the right planning forward perhaps before long things could once again start having some sort of resemblance towards normalcy, whatever the definition of that was or now is.
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