International Education Crisis
By Space Coast Daily // July 19, 2022
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in significant disruption of the global education system. The stringent measures such as lock-down and travel bans led millions of students to stay at home as learning institutions remained closed. Only a few students had the privilege of having online classes.
In turn, the international education crisis is evident in changes in the academic calendar, school drop-outs, the influx of internet-based learning, widened pre-existing disparities, and the high prevalence of students’ mental health issues.
Changes in Academic Calendar
From March 2020, several schools worldwide were closed as the government prioritized resolving the COVID-19 crisis. Resultantly, students had to discontinue their education for a semester or academic year. The implication is that educators were unable to finish the syllabus. Moreover, school administrators had to indefinitely postpone all the sports and events scheduled for 2020-2021. Therefore, regardless of the reentry strategy used to continue with the education regimen, it is impossible to recover the lost time.
Increase in School Drop-outs
The ministry of education gave students a whole academic year to stay out of school without an alternative plan for homework. Thus, many learners faced challenges that made it difficult to resume learning. For instance, although learning has started locally, overseas students are deterred by the travel bans. Moreover, some girls got pregnant while young boys began abusing drugs. It remains strenuous to trace learners when they do not report back because a lot of time has lapsed, and teachers are trying to complete the now constrained.
In-flux of Online Learning
Education technology came in handy to help students with their academic needs. The number of websites like Wr1ter.com, where students can access writing services and academic coaching, has increased. Teachers who were tired of staying jobless at home joined such online platforms to continue helping students. Thus, digitalization of learning aids in cushioning learners and educators from the COVID-19 effects.
Widened Pre-existing Disparities
Inequality in the education sector has for the longest time been a challenge. However, the pandemic further marginalized some students due to their low socioeconomic status or disability. For example, students in regions with poor internet penetration, the blind, and those without hands could not continue with online learning. Moreover, schools with a high student-to-teacher ratio, water problems, and poor structures cannot adhere to the COVID-19 guidelines, further causing a crisis after the lifting of lock-down.
The crisis in the education sector had a negative impact on the mental health of students. Notably, many people lost their relatives and friends due to the coronavirus. Moreover, they listened and watched the traumatizing news of mass graves, shortage of doctors, and ever-increasing death rates. Expectedly, it was an emotionally strenuous year, but the school-going children and the young adults were the hardest hit with depression and anxiety because their brains were still developing.
In conclusion, the international education crisis following the declaration of COVID-19, a pandemic, caused significant disruption to learners. The announcement came abruptly without giving anyone time to make contingency plans. Although the negative impacts of the crisis are already evident, other long-term effects may resurface in the future. The only hope is the medical breakthroughs such as vaccines that may lead to the defeat of the coronavirus to allow absolute resumption of learning.