Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Education
As the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) spread across the globe and in India, alarm bells are sounding in the education sector. At the beginning of February 2020, only schools in China and a few other affected countries we closed down due to the transmission. However, by mid-March 2020, nearly 75 countries have implemented or announced school closures. This includes both nation-wide closures as well as local closures (in case of limited or regional transmission). (Source: Wikipedia)
The close down of educational institutes is estimated to affect roughly 600 million learners across the world (only school going students). However, school closures are an essential step in halting or limiting community-level and local transmission.
Further, a number of students have plans to pursue their higher education in universities abroad. What are these students supposed to do? How are universities and schools across the globe impacted by the novel Coronavirus?
What are educational institutes are doing to keep students safe from contracting COVID-19?
Institutes across the globe are simply instructed to limit the exposure of susceptible student population. This includes measure such as-
- School closures
- Postponing/rescheduling examinations
- Cleaning and sanitization of premises
- Consideration of long-term contingency
ExamResults has published a list of rescheduled or postponed board exams across India. This can help you remain updated on the latest announcements or changes related to board exam schedules across the country.
What do school closures mean for the community?
The impact on education is likely to cause losses in terms of dropout rates and learning outcomes, especially in regions with low shock-resilience. Children have fewer opportunities of learning from home. Further, closure of schools is likely to lead to parents missing work, in order to stay at home and take care of the children. This also affects productivity, incurs loss in wages, consequently affecting the community and the economy as a whole.
A large number of health-care professionals are women. Their work may be disrupted by the presence of their children at home due to school closures, causing unintended strain on health-care related systems.
What are the possible alternatives for interrupted education during COVID-19?
- Exploring the possibility of digital learning, high and low technology solutions etc on the basis of power supply, digital skills of teachers and students, and internet connectivity
- Inclusion in distance learning programs, especially for students coming from low-income groups or presence of disability, etc.
- Providing support for digitalization to teachers as well as students
Digital learning platforms
Several online learning platforms are offering their services to a wider audience. Toppr made its services free for use for some time, especially for class 10th and class 12th students in India. At the same time, global platforms such as Coursera and edX gave free access to their courses online. FutureLearn launched a feature through which university students and staff get unlimited access to their courses. Such instances will prove to be useful to both students and teachers, uplifting the education industry in some way.
Let us hope the pandemic gets eliminated soon. Until then, keep safe!