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New challenges for education system resulting from the COVID-pandemic [report]

Ewa Wojciechowska

The COVID-19 pandemic outburst imposed changes in various aspects of everyday life routines and practices. The scope of these modifications was global, and resulted in public life reorganization in numerous countries. The macro transformations have had a natural impact on daily aspects of human life, forming thus a particular microclimate.  The centre of attention of the Holistic Think Tank includes educational issues – we focus on how and what should be taught by schools and if such teaching actually takes place. How has schooling changed during the pandemic time then? What are the lessons given by a pandemic school, and what should be taught under the changing conditions? Think Tank team has been working for many months on an international research project on primary school education. Investigating similarities and differences in school environments in different countries involves using a wide range of sources from fields such as pedagogy, psychology, sociology and anthropology.  These sources come in a variety of forms – reports from current research projects, interviews with various experts or academic knowledge from textbooks.

The interpersonal nature of the virus transfer resulted in online home education – students in a range of countries started to learn online to a significantly larger extent than it used to be. For the stakeholders of the education process, i.e., teachers, students, and parents, such a change has been challenging in many aspects. Teachers needed to learn new online teaching methods, students had to cope with sore eyes from the blue light and the deficit of peer contact, while parents, often unwillingly, got involved in home learning, combining it with their own job, often performed in a home-office mode. The difficulties related to remote education include equipment shortage resulting from inequality of financial resources, emotional issues related to social isolation and threats related to a new situation, or difficulties resulting from imposed coexistence of online education of children and home-office work of their parents. Not to mention a scary vision of a home-office working parent and teacher in one person.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic changes were made rapidly, from day to day, depending on the pandemic circumstances. Education systems in a range of countries had been designed having in mind much more stable and predictable education process circumstances. Education in the time of the Covid-19 has continued to change dynamically, currently varying depending on the geographical location. Is there a chance for an effective education process under such conditions?

Scientists from the FAB Lab – Monika Aring and Larry Hulbert – together with their research partners from the World Sustainable Development Outlook 2020 focused on presenting directions of thinking about the changes with regard to the impact of game-changing technologies on employment and employees in the  USA. This document has been developed by a group of experts in a range of fields with an impact on the American labour market policies. In the educational context they observed, amongst others, that the former order of education, training systems and labour policies could not follow the technology development, changing labour market or job descriptions. They formulated a range of conclusions and recommendations that can be applied to a broad range of education and career development contexts. The contents of this report can be applied as well to practical aspects of teaching and learning.

The team of education and industry experts claimed that formal education had not been able to prepare students to be able to follow the pace of technological changes occurring nowadays. According to the WEF estimates nearly two-thirds of students who started education in 2016 will have future jobs that do not even exist at present.

Dynamically operating changes of the contemporary world determine thus the need for adjusting the education order both to the requirements resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic as well as from the intense technological growth and the changes implied, respectively. We take pleasure in presenting this paper to you including our recommendations contained herein.

Double-click the image below to download the full report in the PDF file:

About the author
Ewa Wojciechowska
Last year student of psychology, majoring in clinical psychology and neuropsychology at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University. She also studied law at the same university. Aims to deepen the respect for children's rights in school education and to adapt it to the developmental needs of children. Privately, she is interested in forensic psychology, and more specifically- in working with children who are participants in court proceedings.
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