Education experts discussed the post-pandemic future of education and reflected on the findings of a new publication detailing COVID-19 experiences from learning’s frontline
Children are not being taught to be "emotionally self-aware" and the world needs to take the opportunity offered by the pandemic to tailor education to individuals, experts have said as QF's global education initiative launched its new e-book detailing experiences from the frontline of learning amid COVID-19.
The Education Disrupted, Education Reimagined special edition e-book developed by the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) brings together discussions and shared experiences from the global education community over the course of the five months following the start of the COVID-19 crisis.
Comprising 40 articles and essays written by stakeholders at the heart of education – including former prime ministers, CEOs, researchers, and representatives of schools, governments, and NGOs - during the pandemic, its launch was marked by an online panel discussion as part of a series of Qatar Foundation events to mark Global Goals Week.
This e-book really reflects the true diversity of voices that are experiencing and reflecting on this crisis and its implications on education
“This e-book really reflects the value and the values of WISE,” said Stavros N. Yiannouka, CEO of WISE. “We are a trusted global movement dedicated to building the future of education by identifying, recognizing, and supporting innovation in education that fulfills our shared aspiration of making quality education for all a reality, no matter what the circumstances.
“In the spirit of those values, this e-book really reflects the true diversity of voices that are experiencing and reflecting on this crisis and its implications on education. It represents real-time value as a documentary of reflections and responses to arguably the greatest education challenge in over a generation.”
The panel, held in partnership with Salzburg Global Seminar and the Diplomatic Courier, saw six education experts who contributed to the e-book and shared their own views on the fundamental changes that need to take place in order to build better education for everyone.
Asef Saleh, Executive Director of BRAC education program, which has transformed lives in Bangladesh through education for over 30 years, said: “We are currently dealing with a dire situation for education after the pandemic, which we have never seen since the last World War, where an entire generation might not have an opportunity to resume school.
We need to figure out a way to come up with solutions that involve communities, as the fundamental base of any lasting sustainable impact lies in ensuring community is part of it
“We are witnessing massive dropout rates, especially among girls in the developing countries, and while we may recover from this health hazard and economic fallout, recovering from the damage to learning and education will take a much longer time unless we think collaboratively.
“We need to ensure that the solutions we come up with are inclusive of the developing countries, where digital solutions are not available and often unaffordable. We need to figure out a way to come up with solutions that involve communities, as the fundamental base of any lasting sustainable impact lies in ensuring community is part of it.”
Panelist Rebecca Telford, Chief of Education at UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency highlighted the most crucial changes which should be addressed in a newly imagined education landscape according to the findings of UN reports on refugees, “Let’s look at how COVID-19 and support from international systems could give us a way to really fast-track the work of inclusion,” she said. “When children around the world are now suffering from the disruption and the developing communities are suffering with poor infrastructure and inaccessibility, this all resonates with the refugees’ situation.
Now is the opportunity to think of how to tailor education in a way that can benefit everybody, without the need to make parallel systems or special programs that could work for a specific group
“Now is the opportunity to think of how to tailor education in a way that can benefit everybody, without the need to make parallel systems or special programs that could work for a specific group, and to look at what inclusion means in terms of how the international community tailors support in response to crises.”
Commenting on how the pandemic is increasing the demand for emotional literacy to be supported and schools and communities to be helped in dealing with mental health issues, Marc Brackett, Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence, said: “At the present time, we don’t have systems that focus on the social and emotional development which is so essential for every human being to be focused and attentive.
In this critical time, we need to be careful not to keep putting pressure on students to make up for the disruption and prevent themselves from falling behind, because that alone would increase the anxiety
“Imagine how the situation is for a child growing up in abuse, in constant struggle. It impairs their immune function and makes it hard to make sound decisions while being continuously on survival mode. And it makes it so hard for this child to have, and maintain, healthy relationships.
“Research has also clearly shown that the number one feeling for a leader in a school or a teacher in the US is anxiety. Children, on the other hand, are frustrated, overwhelmed. and lonely. So we are having a tremendous amount of emotional imbalance in societies, and we need to admit that throwing scattered interventions like a workshop here and there will not solve the issue.”
“This is a life’s work; it starts as early as when a fetus is in the womb and develops along the different phases of school, and we haven’t given children the education they deserve to be emotionally self-aware. In this critical time, we need to be careful not to keep putting pressure on students to make up for the disruption and prevent themselves from falling behind, because that alone would increase the anxiety. We need to ensure we are supporting children’s whole development with care, safety, and security.”
To download Education Disrupted, Education Reimagined: Responses From Education’s Frontline During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond, visit www.wise-qatar.org