GWI Bonus Webinar Education

GWI Bonus Webinar

Education and Covid-19: What are teaching and schools to be like going forward?

The GWI Education Committee organised a bonus webinar in the Autumn Webinar series on the 19th November 2020. Despite being early hours (7am) on a weekday, I was able to participate with Jenny Morley and some other BFWG members. Shirley Gillette, the convenor of the Education Committee, introduced the effects of Covid-19 and lockdown on learning institutions and overviewed the classical education theories – pedagogies from Plato to Vygotsky. The future of schools is likely to involve more online learning which will also change the job scenario at schools, involving more staff with technological skills. 

Shaila Rao Mistry from the STEM Institute California spoke about Responsive Education – a Futurist Perspective. Covid-19 has moved education to distance learning and exposed cataclysmic changes and social injustice by heavily relying on technology. Changing work forces need continuous learning. The current systemic gaps that we need to overcome are – perspective gap, capability gap, agility gap and delivery gap. The future is now, and the alternative model needs to be adapted. What can we do as GWI: advocacy, influence policy makers, interdisciplinary collaboration, cross-sector teamwork, serve in decision-making, global education projects, countries helping countries etc.?

The participants were randomly assigned to break-out groups for 15 minutes to discuss the questions mentioned below:

  1. What do you personally believe the main focus of education should be? What do you believe is the strongest: traditional classroom learning or IT based student led/directed learning?
  2. How has Covid-19 affected educational settings in schools in your experience?
  3. Future wise how do you imagine schools will look? What will be the role of teachers?

The groups had to assign a chair who could feedback into the main session. Summary of the key points from the groups:

  1. Sustainable blended learning/a hybrid model with classroom learning combined with online learning
  2. Socialising is necessary especially for young children who are learning the skill
  3. Laboratory based learning is difficult in online learning
  4. Teachers need to develop skills to deliver the hybrid model
  5. Discipline aspect of classroom will be critical
  6. Children from less advantaged background do not have access to resources for online learning
  7. Parents also needs to up-skill themselves to adapt to home-based online learning

Confidence Dikgole presented the South African context of the practical impact of Covid-19 on education policy. There are deeper socio-economic disparities and the schooling system contributed to the dilemma in policy positions. There are national policies for public and independent schools and developed with the influence of teacher unions as well as stakeholder consultations. 

The webinar was interesting – from theory of education to future of education and policy making. Food for thought as we face continuous lockdown situations resulting interruption on traditional education system in our country too! Break-out groups were fantastic, and Jenny Morley (BFWG CIR) mentioned that she particularly enjoyed the variety in her group. Recording of the event is available on request, please let me know if you need credentials to access it.

Sudha Srivastava

(Alternate CIR)


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