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The last few months has/ have disrupted the planet earth and the various activities involved in it due to covid 19 pandemic. This Disruption has affected humanity and the profession they are engaged in. This has brought about changes in human behaviours including how we work; It has made some professions to be working from home.
Though we were caught unawares by the pandemic, it’s in the case of desperate situation, desperate measures. The pandemic has altered the way we work including the judiciary, having virtual court in Nigeria, which was not implemented before the pandemic and other sectors.
The educational space is not spared as e – learning as been on the rise. The question many may be asking is, Will this abrupt change be sustained? Will this change reform the education sector? Will the sector go back to the norm; running schools the same way before the pandemic? Will educational practices change? Will there be any negative impact in the sector? In a nut shell, What is the future of education post covid 19?
These are questions begging for answers and I will address them in this essay.
Let me state succinctly that education will sure not return to normal. The pandemic has enlarged educators capacity. Can a crawling child who has increased the capacity to walk return back to the crawling state? In the same token, education will not go back to how it was before the pandemic. I have observed keenly the following factors that will likely shape the future of education post covid.
Teachers Upgrade- The pandemic may have dealt a deadly blow on teachers but it also provided them ample opportunities for some to develop themselves. The shutdown of schools meant that physical classroom cannot take place and since learning must go on , there was an urgent need for teachers to upgrade their skills if they must reach the learners virtually.
It was an exciting experience for some teachers and many won’t allow this to be an exercise in futility. They would want to continue to develop themselves to be relevant in the future of education. Other teachers who have been lethargic and lackadaisical will receive the message and they will also rise to the challenge to upgrade themselves to fit into the future of education post covid. Continuing Professional Development(CPD) – CPD will be taken very seriously in the future of education.
The reason being that technological changes have collided with the traditional skills of teachers which will make it necessary for them to be retrained. The training of teachers from pre school to the university teachers will help to update their skills, which will be easier for them to adapt to the change that will yet come in the future of education. In other words, If we must sustain the change, educators will need to be committed to Continuing Professional Development(CPD) and this will have ripple effects on our nation’s education. Online Learning – it’s true that circumstances forced many schools to use the online medium to reach their pupils during the pandemic.
Are we going to totally embrace this modern learning? Not exactly because the pandemic made us realise that physical classroom is still very much needed especially looking at the peculiarity of our nation where many parents cannot afford data to be online. To say that learning will be completely online as many are asserting is further from the truth. Let us use Nigeria as a case study – What’s the percentage of Nigerian students from kindergarten to graduate school that can be be online learning? How many students have their own devices – tablets, cell phone or laptop? Can majority afford data cost? Nevertheless if everyone has internet access,many more schools,students or parents will adopt online learning. Generally, What will happen post convid will be the blend of the traditional model and online schooling model.
Flipped classroom/ personalised learning – The covid pandemic has popularised the model called flipped classroom. Both students and teachers alike have learnt to use technology in teaching and learning during the pandemic. I remembered before the pandemic, I had introduced flipped classroom model to our parents, it didn’t really work because it was so strange to them. But when covid 19 disrupted the physical classroom, they got used to having their children begin to use technology in learning. Due to this experience , it will make the flipped classroom model to be much easier. The flipped classroom is not exactly like online learning because the video lessons, podcasts etc can be sent to the pupils devices offline using flashdrive and transfer of files. Students will watch video lesson or read the e-note at home which will create enough time for teachers to work with the students and innovate the learning experience.
Learning will also be personalized, the online classes made us understand that pupils can learn at their own pace. This will make the struggling learners and even the special needs students to be more relaxed to learn as students do panic, go through depression because they cannot meet up with their classmates. Integrating technology like using pre recorded videos will make them learn and relearn at their own pace. It will also be easy for teachers to differentiate their learning.
Most parents may be plunged into financial crisis even as the global economy experiences recession post covid. This is also sending an signal that Nigerian out of school children will be more. A parent whose living wage is adversely affected may consider home schooling. Some parents in the western world home school their children, which is not common in Nigeria. Covid 19 has popularised Home schooling. Will some parents opt for it especially the elites? It’s most likely. Parents who have time in their hands could consider home schooling their children. Curriculum – there is will be a need to review our education curriculum. A curriculum that will reflects today’s reality.
Education stakeholders will yearn for it and we hope our policy makers will switch into action to make this possible. Education that is tailored towards making the learners acquire the necessary skill to make the world a better, productive place shall be delivered. For instance, covid 19..which presented it’s own challenges but ideas of how to go about it pop up and solutions like local making of face mask, ventilator came up. Post covid 19 education will see to the empowering of students to think through even foreseeable problems and proffer solutions to them. We will not expect students to be through with schools before using the skills learnt to solve problems in their world.
A curriculum that will be delivered through learning by doing. Vocational and Technical education – Skilled technical workers are needed for any nation’s economy to thrive. Attention will therefore be paid to vocational and technical education. Ths should however be geared towards the current skills needed in today’s workplace including technological skills like AI, machine learning, 3D printing, cloud computing, etc. Life skills- Education before covid prepare the students for the age long industrial age,education post covid will equip students for the needs of the future economy. Students will be equipped with digital skills in order to be part of the technological innovations sweeping across the world. Covid has taught us that even as adults, we need life skills to be able to cope with unpalatable circumstances.
We will not want our children to be victims in the future. Students will therefore be taught explicitly Financial skills, digital skills, mental and emotional health. AI may be part of the future of work, but humans that will work with the technology will need soft skills. Shouldn’t we then equip the future workforce with soft skill which will help them to be more successful? Social emotional learning should therefore not be an option post covid. Bridging the link- if our education policy makers slack in the reviewing of our educational curriculum at all levels, short online courses will bridge that gap. This is not new but the industry will continue to expand in the future.
The formal schools train students for what they will use in the future but these online courses train students for what they need now. Courses like digital marketing( which I don’t know if It’s already a course in our university), digital publishing, speaking, writing, AI, cloud computing, graphics design, network marketing, Stress management, virtual summit, mentorship, blogging, social media, etc shall be more popular through online communities and communications. And this is because, these courses will provide the needed jobs and business for people. Even students that went through the traditional schools shall enroll in these courses while still being student of the ‘formal’ school.. Edtech companies. Edtech companies shall be school’s competitors. Any school school that does not innovate to also be in those platforms will be the loser post covid. Some edtech are not just providing the platform for schools to run their online schools some are running online schools.
And they have been advertising these e schools to parents and some parents have subscribed. These may also mean that if those platforms have been delivery well, some parents may decided to homeschool their children using e- learning platforms.
What do I mean by career Teachers? These are teachers with specialised ‘needed’ knowledge and some may not be teachers in the classroom. Forninstanfe, Some Parents are already calling on successful writers to take their children online lessons- to start training their kids how they can become successful writers like them. Other fields include – animation, coding and robotics, etc . help learners solve real world’s problems,by honing their technical and creative skills..to be innovative).
Critical thinking skills and design thinking…critical thinking may not be a subject areas but should be infused into all su objects to enable learners develop critical and analytical thinking skills…enable them to be problem solvers..solving a specific problem in different ways… Critical thinking breeds inno-vation which requires active, rather than passive, learning. From early years to graduate school, students must learn to actively engage with material through critical analysis and ques-tioning of existing systems. How can learners tweak what already exists to become better?
Project Based Learning…is another teaching methods that should be used to deliver our curriculum post convid..19 Let’s emphasise more on playful learning, project based learning- learning with trial and error…trying to solve problems or preferring solution to challenges.rather than structured ‘serious’ learning. Let them explore..rather than topdown direct teaching methods. Making children just a receiver of information without being a doer. Digital skills/ digital citizenship – This should be a subject – Such a shift in learning content would help children develop confidence in using technology, understanding the principles for managing digital risk and security, and build awareness about their duty as people who will not only be a consumer of technology but also developers.
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