If we have to make a list of various sectors that have been ravaged by Covid-19, probably, Education sector tops the list. Around the globe, schools, colleges and universities have shut down in order to stop the virus from spreading. At the time when the classroom teaching and learning is at the standstill, all concerned people – students, teachers, operators of educational institutes and educationists – have jointly come forward to flout a new learning and teaching modality for the uninterrupted teaching and learning.
It is true that since sometime people were talking about the changes in the education system, however, it is only after the Covid-19 outbreak people are actually discussing the real changes that the educational institutions and teaching methods require.
Shift in the Need for Education
The world is always changing, and to cope with the changes the world goes through there is also a need to change our education system. In the ancient time, learning or education so to speak, was only for knowledge and wisdom, however, these days, education is a medium for livelihood. Until 50-60 years ago, our industries needed workers who could work day or night according to the given instructions or under the command of a single leader, however, these days, we not need people to follow instructions. There are robots and machines to follow our orders, what we need these days is a trouble-shooter who is able to handle problems faced by the machines and robots, programmers to program these robots and machines, supervisors to supervise machine’s work.
In the ancient time, human beings needed basic skills to make a living, however, these days, people require complex skills like operating machines, computers, gadgets, etc. as well as skills to stay calm even while working in a difficult environment, being able to work for longer hours without losing the focus, be able to multi-task, and also master multiple set of skills.
For example, if you are a teacher, instructional skills are not enough, you also need skills to create slideshows and graphics in a computer so that you can teach better. These days even a farmer needs skills to operate complex machines and computer and use internet, and find about the new innovation in the agriculture sector. The modern education system needs to teach kids managerial skills (because every job require some sort of management), computers and machines (because these days almost all jobs are done using a computer and machine), and become broad minded (because you have to work in a stressful environment).
One of the greatest things to happen to the human beings in the last century is the revolution in the communication technology, or the internet to be precise. The internet technology has leveraged the human beings in a way that they no longer have to leave the comfort of home to study, work, meet people, or make purchases. Modern education system has to make the use of internet to teach students, the modern teachers have to teach students how they can use computers, handheld devices, software, apps for learning. The teachers should also teach the kids how to use the internet safely. Education should stop promoting traditional teacher-student relations where the students are required to highly regard the teachers. Today, teachers are required to treat students more like friends. The education system has to bridge the gap so that is promotes a friendly environment where teacher and student discuss the issues and problems together.
The Virtual Learning Environment
These days our kids are learning so many things from social sites, video sites, or even learning sites and apps, which seem to be absent in the traditional classroom learning. For example, instruction on game coding may be absent in the school curriculum, however, an eighth grader can learn game coding through YouTube or Udemy (online learning site/app). Therefore, we need to change our methods of teaching because the world is getting globalized and the world is turning virtual for everything from study, work, paying bills, shopping, etc. The kids are already learning more than what their teachers are teaching at school in traditional classroom. The education system needs to accommodate these things so that in absence of proper guidance learning does not go horribly wrong, and instead of good things, kids start to learn bad things.
Therefore, education system needs to be thoroughly modified so that the kids learn in friendly and healthy environment. Curriculum and teaching methods also need through modifications so that there is one-on-one education based on the individual interest and capacity. Of course there is also a question of not being also to accommodate the entire students in this new education system because they come from diverse geography and income source. For example, a student from Jumla may not have all resources that a student in Kathmandu has. However, even in that case, we still need to modify our education so that the student in Jumla is equipped with the same resources as his Kathmandu based counterpart.