Impact of covid-19 on the education system

The COVID-19 pandemic has a potential of becoming one other worst pandemics the world has ever seen. As such, many countries have taken the right decision to close schools, colleges and universities. Such tough decision has negative impacts on both the academic and economic fronts of any country irrespective of its level of development.

Impact on public schooling

Public schooling is the best tool to raise a person’s abilility and skills. These skills and abilities include:

  • social skills and social awareness from interacting with other people from different walks of life
  • intellectual abilities gained from the curicculum
  • physical abilities developed by school activities and extra curicculum activities.

It has been scientifically proved that even a relatively short time in school improves all those skills and abilities. Conversely we can conclude that even a relatively short period of missed school will have disasterous consequences towards skill growth.

Home schooling

Closure of schools doesn’t mean students have been sent home to play. The hope of every educator is that they continue their education at home, to prevent the students from missing out too much. This might come as a surprise to many parents (and as disappointment to some) since home schooling is not only a massive drawback to parents’ productivity, but also to a student’s social life and extra curicculum activities.

Some challenges faced in home schooling include:

  • lack of qualified educators at home.
  • the learner`s lack of faith in being schooled by parents or relatives.
  • poor social development of the learner.
  • unequal access to learning resources.

Online Learning

Online learning is an adventurous journey, one that didn`t have to be pushed by a pandemic. E-learning resources and e-school should have in place due to the level of the technological advancement we have. For the better part of the last 10 years we have been happily building online communities while reluctantly pushing forward online learning. Covid-19 gave us the final push.

The future is here, teaching is moving online. More and more online student assessment websites are poping up though with much trial and error. The biggest drawbacks to online learning are:

  • the huge cost of internet data especially in developing countries.
  • the lack of internet access especially to people in maginallised and rural areas.

Cancelled and deffered assessments

Many institutes have simply cancelled less important assessments and deffered many important assessments to next year in hopes that the coming year will be a favourable one. However these interruptions have long-term negative effects for the whole education system.

Some countries like UK, for example, have cancelled almost all main public qualification exams such GCSEs and A levels. Whilst some countries like Zimbabwe, for example, have simply closed school have simply closed education instutes but allowed exams to progress. These decision are however based on the magnitude of the effects each respective nation has suffered due to Covid-19.

Pipeline effect

The whole education system is like one huge pipeline system in which:

  • ECD feed students to primary schools.
  • primary schools feed students to secondary schools.
  • secondary schools feed students to tertiary institute.

Now what happens when primary schools which feed students to secondary institutes have been closed? Does this means that a child who was in grade 1 will essentially have to remain in grade 1 next year? If so, then this means the kids who were in ECD (early childhood development) won’t graduate into grade 1 next year since there won’t be a vacancy for them to fill. They will have to wait out another year at least. Same applies to the secondary and tertiary institutes in turn and this will results in "a year in which noone graduated from university". A year in which there was no University intake.

As I mentioned prevoiusly, Zimsec examinations are proceeding, though however its not yet clear what will happen to the current form 3 students. Will they proceed to form 4 and write exams next year, taking it into consideration that the better part of this important year has been lost for them. If they don’t proceed, then there will be no form 4 students next year.

Same applies with lower 6. The O’levels who have been allowed to write their exams this years will requaire lower 6 places next year. However it wont be logical to push the current lower 6 class into upper 6 next year, especially since A`level is only a two year course. We will have to deal with twice the average number of students in lower six next year.

Sydney Chako

Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics teacher at Sytech Learning Academy. From Junior Secondary School to Tertiary Level Engineering Mathematics and Engineering Science.

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