How prepared was the education system for the CoVID 19 crises?

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

he COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the system to employ the ubiquitous use of e-learning. It has revolutionised learning forever. Closing down schools over the last few months was an effort to restrain the transmission, which affected more than a billion students globally. Fortunately, education did not hit a standstill, but it modified and went online. This also highlighted socio-economic differences as internet availability, access to required means, and the need for suitable technology. While online learning has previously played a vital role in providing continuity in education, the scale of this pandemic is unprecedented.

Many of the world’s students — especially ones in underprivileged families — do not have internet access and computers at home, increasing the consequences of current education system biases. Learners requiring access to the technologies necessitated for eLearning have insufficient means to sustain their learning.

The usage of digital education was almost rare before this pandemic. Only 20% of countries had digital learning resources in teaching, but only in some schools. A mere 10 percent of nations possessed more strong e-learning resources.

As per the World Bank, no country has a universal digital curriculum for teaching and learning.

Those figures draw a portrayal of the efforts that authorities and institutions had to take to immediately transfer to e-learning to assure continuity of learning.

To talk of academic consequences, disturbances in training can lead to struggles in education and raises in class repetition and school dropouts, defeating ages of advancement made in education.

UNICEF’s factsheet estimates the potential reach of digital and broadcast remote learning responses, finding that at least 463 million students around the globe remain cut off from education, mainly due to a lack of remote learning policies or lack of equipment needed for learning at home.

Dataset : UNESCO-UNICEF-World Bank Survey on National Education Responses to COVID-19 School Closures (June-July 2020)

The actual number of students who cannot be reached is likely significantly higher than estimated in this factsheet, which reflects best-case scenarios based on policies that were implemented and the technologies available in households.

A visual summary of the data collected by UNICEF can answer a few questions.

What is the potential scope of diverse e-learning methods?

There are wide inequalities in resources and similar contrarieties in access to digital technology, both among and in nations. Many institutions across the world do not have the means to invest in e-learning, and many children from weaker families do not have access to essentials for online classes like mobile phones and computers.

These charts explain why, the provision of internet connection alone is not sufficient to guarantee continuation in education, especially in nations that were previously encountering an education crisis before the COVID-19 pandemic.

As it has been summarised by UNICEF :
Providing the world’s disadvantaged and marginalised children with equitable access to learning opportunities is foundational to creating a sustainable future and must be a priority for the global education sector.”

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Ritika Singh

Assistant Professor — Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Visualisation and Competitive Professional Skills