Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, more than 1.2 billion children and youth were unable to attend schools and universities, with education institutions being closed in 186 countries. According to UNESCO, this is affecting over 72% of the world’s student population.
Shifting education to online environments from one day to the other, left both teachers and students facing challenges to adapt to new circumstances. While the human interaction is missing, other new collaborative ways are sprouting.
Similar to how this crisis lead the digital transition of some companies, it also impacted classic education settings and even degrees. Nowadays, the prevalence of micro-credentials and massive online courses is pervasive across the globe to the point of making degrees an outdated model.
Still, this type of response to the crisis should not reinforce the already existing inequalities in education. Access to digital infrastructure and resources for all, proper training and support for teachers as well as balancing screen time with physical activities are crucial in ensuring all children can enjoy their right to education. Above all, the education system needs to be inclusive, providing everyone with a fair chance of realising their potential. How else can we expect a more sustainable society?
"Learners do not only have very unequal access to the internet, computers and other digital tools; some groups like refugee and migrant families are also very difficult to reach with information or services. Moreover, many children lack the supportive environment needed for learning at home."