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Transcript Blog- The Global Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on Worldwide Education

Education is one of the many areas that has had to drastically adapt due to Coronavirus pandemic. Teachers, students, and parents have had to completely reshape their lives in a matter of days since schools closed. One of the highest concerns during this unprecedented time is student mental health; the uncertainty and stress being put on young people must be responded to with grace and sympathy. With various issues from the accessibility of digital learning to troublesome home environments, there are many questions about how this current situation will impact students’ ability to learn. To shed more light on the matter and provide helpful insight, Josephine Monberg, host of the Experience Revolution Podcast, interviewed Dr Malcolm Woodfield, Global leader of SAP’s Education and Research Practice, about the impact of this pandemic on education. In this blog, we are highlighting the key discussion points of the podcast.

 

Initial Overview (0 – 10 Minutes )

Dr Woodfield helped explain the immediate impact of this crisis and shared insights as to how it will likely transform education in the future. First and foremost, he described how the education sector is currently experiencing some of the deepest and most lasting effects of the COVID-19 crisis. Some of the salient points highlighted are

  • The global student population makes up roughly 20% of the world’s population. Take that group, along with all those who work in the education sector, and you get an extremely large number of people being directly affected. 
  • Parents are also feeling the pressure as in many cases they now have to facilitate their child’s learning. Education and healthcare together are the largest employers of people in the United States, and they are the most impacted by the current crisis. 
  • It is not hard to imagine that there will be lasting effects from this situation when it is apparent how many people have had to adapt so drastically.

Adapting to Crisis (10 – 15 Minutes)

For many teachers, the pivot to online learning has been a challenge. It is impossible to reproduce a classroom experience, and many are missing the personal connection of being together. Although some experiences cannot be replaced, things will probably not go back to exactly the way that they were.

There will be long term changes. The whole digital environment will become mainstream, both how students learn and the operations of teaching. This is not to say that schools will become obsolete, the connectivity that they provide will remain essential.

Challenges and Changes (15 -30 Minutes)

The pandemic has acted as a kind of a stress test on institutions. Some of the key points highlighted here:

  • In education, it has reopened what was used to be known as the “digital divide”. The digital tools for remote learning and working are not as widely adopted or available as some might have assumed. 
  • The academic calendar has come to a standstill and there is no universal guidance on how to handle things like examinations, graduation, and qualifying boards that are required to enter the workforce. 
  • The lack of assessment and examination is a fundamental issue because the purpose of an educational institution is to provide learning, assess student progress in that learning, and to certify that the student has qualified to graduate and move into the working world.
  • Dr Malcolm also mentioned about the free SAP offering on the Remote Pulse Surveys for the Educators and Higher Ed Remote Learning.

Closing Remarks

Educators are going to have to rethink the way that student’s activity and learning is assessed. Technologies like blockchain, for example, might be more widely used to secure accreditation and qualifications. Schools and teachers will learn from these challenging and very stressful times because in education that’s what they do- it’s a learning industry. The problems that are coming forward now will allow us to reimagine the future. We will all come out of this stronger, smarter, and more skilled to serve the next generation of learners.

For more information on the impact of COVID-19 on various industries subscribe to this podcast series.

Blog Author: Stephanie Carlson

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