I am Indrani Adhikary principal of Milkyway Preschool, Kolkata. I am also the founder member of the Indian Association of Science and Application.
Ever since COVID 19 has been declared a global pandemic the world, particularly the education system has come to a halt. The classrooms of the schools, colleges, and universities are empty, the playgrounds are empty, the streets lack the laughter and energy of children and youth. The future generation of every country has self-isolated themselves in their respective safe zone i.e. their homes. The basic question that comes to our mind is
1. How can we impart the required knowledge to the students?
2. What will be the role of the educators?
3. Is education in its present form practicable enough?
4. Is our education system able to prepare children for the future?
Disruptions in the education sector due to Covid19 has given educators time to rethink, reimagine, and reengineer the education sector.
We are dealing with teachers, parents, and students. Let us define their problems separately.
Teachers: Teachers are confused and stressed. Transitions to distance learning platforms tend to be messy and frustrating, even in the best circumstances.
Parents: Parents are unprepared for distance and homeschooling: When schools close, parents who are often asked to facilitate the learning of children at home and can struggle to perform this task.
Present youth: This generation is defined by technology, where the terms FOBA (Fear of Being Alone) and FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) express their expectation of instant communication and feedback – effected through Instant Messaging apps and social platforms. This generation is comfortable in using technology.
• Technology has stepped in a big way, and will continue to be the support system of education.
• In this world of technology, knowledge is just a mouse-click away.
Thus, the role of the educator is no longer that of just a knowledge provider. Technology is there with the relevant information. Educators have to take responsibility for the holistic development of the children. Other than imparting knowledge effectively they have to be responsible for the social, emotional, and physical wellbeing of a child.
In the midst of this COVID-19 crisis, we are sure that fellow educators, like us, are wondering what we need to be preparing our students for in the future. According to a Dell Technologies report, 85% of the jobs in 2030 that Generation Z and Alpha will enter into have not been invented yet. According to this World Economic Forum report, 65% of primary school children today will be working in job types that do not exist yet.
So we need to prepare the children for the unknown.
Looking into the future, some of the most important skills that employers will be looking for will be creativity, communication and collaboration, alongside empathy and emotional intelligence; and being able to work across demographic lines of differences and effective teamwork.
So how should we prepare the children?
Teaching life skills needed for the future, particularly resilience and adaptability.
· We need to teach our children to accept and remain committed to whatever change comes their way.
· We need to teach our children to be emotionally and mentally prepared for any situation.
· We need to teach the children critical thinking and problem-solving methods.
· We need to teach the children to accept failures learn from them, analyze them, and move on.
· We need to teach our children positive thinking.
· We need to teach our children to survive the negative impacts of technology which may include cyberbullying or frauds which may not be seen by the parents or teachers but may devastate the child emotionally.
The COVID-19 crisis may well change our world and our global outlook; it may also teach us about how education needs to change to be able to better prepare our young learners for what the future might hold.