The education industry has taken a major hit since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. As if there were not enough challenges keeping students from schools in the past, things have gotten even worse in the last 12 months. In the wake of the pandemic, over 1.53 billion students were reportedly out of school in more than 184 countries. This made up for more than 87.6% of world learners. As if the direct disruption isn't bad enough, the dropout rate of students has also been on the rise. These are five ways in which the pandemic has directly affected education:
1. Rise in Dropout Rate
As stated above, the dropout rate since the beginning of the pandemic has been on the rise. This is especially so in developing regions like Sub-Saharan Africa. During the extended school closures, many students stopped going to in-person classes and had no access to alternative forms of learning. The longer they stayed at home, the more deviant they became. Some girls were married off by their parents after cases of unplanned pregnancy while some boys took to crime. Some other children were sent to the streets to hawk groceries to support their families during the pandemic. Even after schools resumed, these students haven't been able to go back to school. At the time of writing, one out of every five out-of-school children was living in Nigeria.
2. Gender-based Violence is on the Rise Among Teenagers
Schools don't just provide education, they also offer structure and security for students. Statistics have shown that students are less likely to be exposed to violence than out-of-school children. Girls are typically more prone to domestic violence and other vulnerabilities. When they are out of school, things get worse. This became more obvious in the Covid-19 era. Boys have also been victims of gender-based violence and it's not limited to physical abuse. It includes verbal, and emotional abuse as well.
3. Online Learning is More Popular
While the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a lot of disadvantages in the education industry, it has also promoted the advancement of online learning. Online learning has been an upcoming trend for years now but it hasn't been popular among younger learners. In the Covid-19 era, schools have been able to work with software engineers to develop effective applications for online learning. Using Google Suite and some other applications, these experts have proven that online learning isn't just for older students and workers. Undergraduate and graduate students have also joined online bootcamps on Computersciencehero.com and other websites.
4. Lack of Accessibility
While online learning served as a viable alternative to in-person classes during the lockdown, not every child was privileged to gain access to education. In developing countries, so many factors prevented students from learning. Students from poor families could not afford laptops, smartphones, the Internet, or electricity required for online classes. Most low-income countries didn't even create digital curriculums for their educational systems. UNICEF reached out and tried to provide the resources these countries need but it wasn't enough to provide every child with an education. In developed societies, the tools required to make online learning easy and efficient were available to almost every learner but many parents still weren't satisfied with online learning.
5. Inadequate Room for Building Communication Skills
Communication skills are essential to every student. They aren't just going to use these skills during their learning years but when they join the workforce as well. With in-person classes, students have the chance to interact with their peers and teachers. During class presentations, they build public speaking skills. Let's not forget that it also allows them to learn non-verbal communication skills as well. With online learning, there isn't enough room to develop communication skills. While video conferencing and other tech tools have helped students with virtual interactions, it's nothing compared to face-to-face interaction.
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected different industries in unique ways. In the education industry, the most obvious challenge is the increase in the number of out-of-school students. However, these learners have also been exposed to other challenges because staying out of school makes them more vulnerable. The most significant impact of Covid-19 in education can be seen in developing nations. Thankfully, the disruption stage is coming to an end and the world is moving into the recovery stage.