The COVID-19 epidemic has devastated school systems around the world since its outbreak two years ago, wreaking havoc on the most vulnerable students. It has exacerbated an already-existing education problem by increasing inequities. School closures have ranged from none in a few countries to more than a full school year in others. At least one-third of students were unable to pursue remote learning due to a lack of connectivity and gadgets. Thanks to health and safety measures and vaccination programmes, schools are open in the majority of countries today in the Omicron variety. However, the costs in terms of lost learning, health and well-being, and dropout are likely to be enormous. According to Grand Columbus International School, one of the best schools in Neharpar Faridabad, prioritising education as a public benefit is critical to avoiding a generational disaster and ensuring a long-term recovery.
Globally, educational institutions quickly went online in response to the pandemic. Students went from being in physical settings that provided them with much-needed social connections to being seated in front of a screen for hours on end at record speed. In Lebanon, the transition to online platforms was more gradual and was largely led by academic institutions that already had digital learning systems in place and the resources to run them.
There is evidence that learning online can be more effective in a number of ways for people who have access to the correct technology. According to several studies, students who learn online retain 25–60% more content than those who learn in a classroom, which retains only 8–11%. This is primarily due to students’ ability to learn more quickly online. E-learning takes 40–60% less time to learn than traditional classroom learning since students may learn at their own pace, going back and re-reading, skipping, or accelerating through subjects as needed.
However, the efficiency of online learning differs depending on the age group. Because children are more readily distracted, the common belief among children, particularly younger ones, is that they require a structured environment. According to Dowson Tong, Senior Executive Vice President of Tencent and President of the company’s Cloud and Smart Industries Group, a concerted effort is needed to provide this structure and go beyond replicating a physical class or lecture through video capabilities, instead using a range of collaboration tools and engagement methods that promote “inclusion, personalization, and intelligence.”
This pandemic has clearly wreaked havoc on an education system that many believe was already losing relevance. In his book, 21 Lessons for the Twenty-First Century, Yuval Noah Harari explains how schools continue to emphasise traditional academic abilities and rote learning over qualities like critical thinking and adaptability, which will be more necessary for future success. Could the shift to online learning be the trigger for a new, more effective approach to student education? While some are concerned that the hurried nature of the online move has hampered this goal, others plan to make e-learning part of their “new normal” following firsthand experience of its benefits.