• Aditya Sharma

Pros/Cons of Covid-19 on Education Sector

Today the world is facing the biggest public health crisis risk – Covid-19 pandemic which is leading to one of the largest and the quickest re-organization of the world order. The epidemic had resulted in the closure of over of all schools, colleges and universities impacting close to 1.38 billion students. The speed of the spread of this Covid-19 epidemic is so high that it lead to the closure of many higher education institutions and schools. The transition of face-to-face teaching to online teaching was so swift that it hardly gave any time to plan and to reflect on the potential risks or on the potential opportunities that this such sudden change could bring.

Given such a situation it is important to look at the impact of this epidemic and to reflect on what has transpired and what is likely to happen as we move ahead in the field of global education.

Negative Impacts of Covid-19 on Education

This epidemic has impacted the education sector very badly, that the whole education curriculum has got disturbed. Some of the negative impacts of Covid-19 on education are –

. Sluggish Cross Border Movement of Students

As various universities from countries like Australia, UK, New Zealand and Canada are highly dependent on the movement of students from China and India for their higher study. But due to this epidemic it is becoming clearer that this cross border movement of students will take a beating at least for the next two to three years and this will lead to a major financial risk for universities in these countries who are already under financial pressure. As many parents will avoid sending their children to abroad for higher education due to high risk from this pandemic.

. Passive Learning by Students

This sudden shift to online learning from face-to-face learning without any planning - especially in the countries like India where the backbone for online learning was not ready and the curriculum was not designed for such a format. This sudden shift has created the risk as most of our students are becoming passive learners and they seem to be losing interest due to low levels of attention span. This passive learning has left a large proportion of the student population untouched due to the digital divide that is part of many developing nations including India.

. Unprepared Teachers for Online Education

Online learning is a special kind of methodology and not all of our teachers are good at it. As some of them were not ready for this sudden transition from face to face learning to online learning. Thus, most of the teachers are just conducting their lectures on video platforms such as Zoom which may not be real online learning platform in the absence of a dedicated online platform specifically designed for the purpose. Furthermore, there is a risk that in such a situation, learning outcomes may not be achieved and that may only be resulting in engaging the students.

. Changing Format of Student Recruitment

Universities and Colleges from all over the world are facing a major risk in the area of student recruitment and retention as the risk of losing students is so high. They will have to re-look at their admission practices, admission criteria and the overall recruitment process many times which may will include new methods of outreach and application process itself.

Positive Impacts of Covid-19 on Education

As it is seen that any change that is so disruptive is also likely to bring with it some of new opportunities. So as this Covid-19 epidemic, as this epidemic has transform the higher education system worldwide and especially in a country like India which is now planning to bring about a planned reform in this sector. Some of the key areas of opportunities are –

. Rise in Blended Learning

Universities and Colleges will now shift to a model of blended learning where both face to face teaching as well as online teaching model will become a norm. This will require all teachers to become more savvy about technology. So in order to become more savvy about technology they have to go through some training sessions so as to bring themselves to that level of teaching. So new ways of delivering lectures and assessments of learning outcomes will have to be adopted which opens immense opportunities for a major transformation in the area of curriculum development and pedagogy.

. Learning Management Systems to be the New Norms

A great opportunity will open up for those companies that have been developing and strengthening learning management systems that will be used by many universities and colleges. As this has the potential to grow at a very fast pace.

. Improvement in Learning Material

There is a great opportunity for all the universities and colleges to start improving the quality of the learning material that is used in the teaching and learning process. As the blended learning will be the new format of learning and there will be a push to find new ways/methods so as to design and deliver quality content. Especially due to this fact the use of learning management system will bring about more openness and transparency in the academics.

. Rise in Collaborative Work

The teaching community to a large extent has been much insulated and more so in a country like India. So, there is a new opportunity where collaborative teaching and learning can take on new forms and can even be monetized. Various faculty members/teachers can deliver online courses to even students from different competing institutions. Collaborations can also happen among various faculty/teachers across the nation so as to benefit each other. As a large number of academic meetings, seminars and conferences will move online. So there is huge possibility that some of new form of an online conferencing platform will emerge as a business model.

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