If we have to make a list of various sectors that have been ravaged by COVID-19, education sector probably tops the list. Schools, colleges and universities were shut down globally in order to stop the virus from spreading. As teaching-learning in classrooms came to a halt, all concerned people – students, teachers, operators of educational institutes, and educationists – have jointly come forward for a new learning and teaching modality for uninterrupted teaching and learning.
It is true that in the last few years, people were talking about the changes in the education system. However, it is only after COVID-19 outbreak that people are actually discussing the real changes that the educational institutions and teaching methods require.
Shift The world is always changing, and to cope with the changes, there is also a need to change our education system. In ancient times, learning or education so to speak, was only for knowledge and wisdom. However, education these days is for eking out a living.
Until 50-60 years ago, our industries needed workers who could work day or night according to the given instructions or under the command of a single leader. However, these days, we do not need people to follow instructions. There are robots and machines to follow our orders, what we need these days are trouble-shooters who are able to handle problems faced by the machines and robots. They require programming and supervising these robots and machine’s work.
In the ancient time, human beings needed basic skills to make a living. But these days, people require complex skills like operating machines, computers, gadgets, programmes, etc. as well as skills to stay calm even while working in a difficult environment, being able to work for longer hours without losing the focus, being able to multi-task, and also master multiple set of skills.
For example, if you are a teacher, instructional skills are not enough, you also need skills to create slideshows and graphics on a computer so that you can teach better. These days even a farmer is in need for skills to operate complex machines and computers and use the internet and find out innovations in the agriculture sector. The modern education system needs to teach kids managerial skills (because every job requires some sort of management), computers and machines (because these days almost all jobs are done using a computer and machine), and become broad-minded (because you have to work in a stressful environment).
One of the greatest things that happened to human beings in the last century is the revolution in communication technology, or the internet to be precise. Internet technology has leveraged human beings in a way that they no longer have to leave the comfort of home to study, work, meet people, or make purchases. The modern education system has to make use of the internet to teach students, the modern teachers have to teach students how they can use computers, handheld devices, software, apps for learning, etc.
The teachers should also teach the kids how to use the internet safely. Education should stop promoting traditional teacher-student relations where the students are required to highly regard the teachers. Today, teachers are required to treat students more like friends. The education system has to bridge the gap so that it promotes a friendly environment where teachers and students discuss the issues and problems together. These days our kids are learning so many things from social sites, video sites, or even learning sites and apps, which seem to be absent in traditional classroom learning. For example, instruction on game coding may be absent in the school curriculum, however, an eighth-grader can learn game coding through YouTube or Udemy (online learning site/app).
Virtual learning We need to change our teaching methods because the world is getting globalised and turning virtual for everything from the study, work, paying bills, shopping, etc. The kids are already learning more than what their teachers are teaching at school in traditional classrooms. The education system needs to accommodate these things so that in absence of proper guidance learning does not go horribly wrong, and instead of good things, kids start to learn bad things.
The education system needs to be thoroughly modified so that the kids learn in a friendly and healthy environment. Curriculum and teaching methods also need modifications so that there is one-on-one education based on individual interest and capacity. Of course, there is also a question of not being able to accommodate the entire students in this new education system because they come from a diverse geography and income source.