How the pandemic (Covid-19) affected education in general

pandemic (Covid-19)
4 mn read

The world is combating the COVID-19 outbreak; the contemporary scenario has compelled about 130 countries all over the globe to close their educational institutes. This decision has impacted almost about 80% of students globally. The situation is unprecedented as the world has never seen this massive amount of students out of school spontaneously. The situation has provoked mixed sentiments of worry, sadness, scare, and anger among all the students, irrespective of their age group. March 2020 is going to be an unforgettable month for the whole educational community due to the zillions of sudden ups and downs. It can be written in history as a month when educational institutes shut their doors on students. Since the beginning of the month, the government instituted schools and universities to observe the closure in the wake of the deadly coronavirus. This paper will discuss how Covid-19 has affected the education system.

However, by the end of the month, 185 countries practised the same. The rapid closure of educational institutes and the swift switching to distance learning have not provided students with the leverage to plan their studies accordingly. In the wake of this, students are struggling to continue their education during this pandemic. The novel virus has already changed the trends in the educational field a lot, and if COVID-19 and its response persist for a year, then the whole academic framework will be redefined. The traditional learning students were habitual of was at a campus level, and the learning was used to encourage in a professional learning network. Where faculty and students were engaged in the sense of community by maintaining the face to face interaction. Since the basic framework has changed, so it has brought many long-lasting impacts to it.

In my opinion, conventional face-to-face learning is an effective approach to learning and better understanding. The campus life induced a sense of discipline, and I was accustomed to studying in that particular environment. So for me, the sudden transition from campus life to study at home has proven to be obnoxious. Learning side by side, the class fellows used to create a healthy competition and was undoubtedly a head start for effective learning. Every individual possesses a different tendency for adaptation to the change, and now it is also being suspected that in future, students might get evaluated based on how promptly they adapted to this transition. As if the pandemic remains continuous for a while, then future enrollments in universities and colleges will be focused on this adaptability. Shifting the massive amount of medical curriculum to distant learning and no access to practical work is a serious dilemma.

In my opinion, the unplanned continuity of the online system is compelling us to compromise on quality. This switch in the course learning objectives might put a big question mark on the learning credibility of this particular cohort. Another loophole that I suspect is going to affect the community and public advocacy in the future is the lag the research domain is facing. Due to remote learning, we are unable to get access to laboratories or societal interaction, which will equally affect the scientific and humanities disciplines. Not only will the world confront this gap, but it will cast its impact on the research and development and international scholarship policies. The university-funded international travel for the research conferences has already experienced a stall.

The first shift to online learning has induced a flurry of chaos. Not only the students alone are facing this anxiety, but I feel the stress on teachers also has intensified two folds. The pedagogical priorities have undergone the same rapid swift. Additionally, most of the teachers were not acquainted with this online mode of study during their routine practices. The face-to-face interaction, the arguments, and the communication within the class setup not only used to prove beneficial in solving my queries but also plunged countless ideas towards me. In this online study system, it is not only face-to-face communication that is affected, but the most significant challenge is now equitable access to the students for maintaining transparency in attendance and the assignment deadlines.

Many of us now and often feel internet bandwidth and connectivity issues, which compels us to lag in the virtual classroom. It is an undisputed fact that attention is one of the prime factors at stake in educational settings, and the online system requires a lot of attention and motivation. At the same time, I feel it difficult to focus on the pixelated screen in place of the board. Also, the attention of the professor to individual students in a classroom setting used to keep me attentive. The right blend of board description, professor’s lecture delivery, and the campus environment used to do wonders, and the pixelated screens have certainly lost all the charm we used to have in face-to-face learning.

Online education has not only put a halt to on-campus study but has also interrupted the assessment system. Resulting in the postponement and the cancellation of many exams. Interim assessments are majorly facing cancellation. However, in my opinion, the loss of this evaluation will pose a serious delay in recognition of both the potential level and the learning difficulties students are facing. At the same time, the end-term assessments have to switch to online assessment tools. This online assessment platform will undoubtedly be a new realm for both the teachers and the students, so this assessment system is likely to have more errors than usual. It compels the students like me to seriously think about the choice of career we will make because most educational institutes consider educational credentials like grade point averages and degree classification as the weighing parameters for student applications. The discrepancy in our assessment will reduce efficiency. This contemporary situation has made the choice of a career more obscure than ever because we, the students, are not only facing the interruption in the smooth learning curve of our degree program, but also we will be likely to graduate at the time of the global recession.

Will shifting from campus learning to remote learning be a bone or bane for students? Whether the educational systems be able to make up the loss the pandemic has caused to individual learning of students? It is still too early to address these concerns. Will the pandemic continues in this way, vanish completely or revive in another wave, no one can forecast this, so institutes should start making plans for a future move because the strategy for making up for the loss and targeting the hard-hit students is still ambiguous. Secondly, the importance of practical learning, assessments, and maintaining unbiased grading cannot be overlooked, so the institute should rather postpone the assessments rather than cancel them.

Lastly, the current response to COVID-19 is a triage; maybe by the end of this crisis, we adopt the strategies that support effective online learning. Still, the need of the hour is to focus on the simplest and the most effective ways that can help the students and instructors equally to achieve the objectives of their degree program.

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