Covid-19 completely changed the education sector. It made all institutions undergo an abrupt transition from in-person to online modalities. Most governments implemented lockdown from one day to another, and the sector had to come up with a solution fast. Even now, eight months later, things haven’t gone back to normal. Here is how the virus has disrupted the education industry. The stats on this article are from the OECD’s The Impact of Covid-19 on Education.
The Covid-19 pandemic has increased the demand for the healthcare sector. The industry is already at its full capacity in most countries in a normal situation. But with the virus, the massive amount of new cases and people that needed medical attention reached numbers higher than ever before.
To try and meet the needs of citizens, governments started giving more funding to the healthcare sector, and the education industry was given less priority. So now, the education sector is in need of more tools like online platforms, computers, and digital devices so students can learn from home. The sector needs to prepare for when they reopen again with all safety measures like cleaning, temperature readers, face masks, and so on.
But it is a real possibility that education will have the same or a smaller budget than before the pandemic. Eleven percent of global public expenditure was directed to education on average worldwide. We will have to wait and see what happens next year while the pandemic is still raging and if the efforts to continue education with the virus are applied long-term.
Reduction of International Students
International students are part of the education industry and create an environment of diversity and inclusion. In some cases, like tertiary education, they become essential to educational institutions. In most countries, international students pay higher tuition fees than national ones. The lack of them will result in a great hit for most universities. And this is even more true for doctoral programs where international students represent 22 percent of the class.
With distance learning, things change for international students. They lose the main benefits of being in another country to meet new people and cultures. Plus, they probably have expensive living costs that they could save by moving back to their home countries. The point of going abroad to study is to go to a better university that will provide better opportunities for their careers. And if they, from now on, have to study online, they may have other options like more affordable online courses.
Also, in many countries, international students are a source of development. Countries like Australia and Canada facilitate the immigration process to highly qualified students that will improve the country’s chances of development. This could be hindered by the reduced number of people that decide to study abroad.
More Online Platforms
What immediately changed when the pandemic started back in March was an increase in online learning platforms. Every institution in the education sector, either private or public and from pre-K to tertiary education, had to move to online platforms to continue their operations. By May, 94 percent of learners worldwide were affected. Many of them already had online platforms that they only need to adapt to the new needs.
But most schools didn’t have any idea where to begin, and they created learning platforms that weren’t that effective. So, they will probably go back to traditional in-person methods when the governments allow it. Other learning institutions, like coding bootcamps, were already offering interactive and user-friendly online platforms. So those will probably continue with this methodology for a while.
Another thing that changed with the pandemic, especially in primary and secondary education, is that the learning process became a shared responsibility. We are in a society where most families have two working parents, so education was the responsibility of the schools.
Now, with the pandemic and most kids back at home and parents working remotely, they have at least some of the responsibility in the learning process. Online learning is hard for younger kids. It is difficult for them to concentrate and keep themselves engaged. That is why parents had to step up and become the teachers for a few hours each day.
The Covid-19 pandemic generated an economic crisis in many countries, and this will probably have an impact on education funding in the future. With all the distancing and safety measures, the number of international students will decrease, which is a huge hit for the sector. Plus, many online platforms were created and will probably stay as a new way of learning.