Education In Times Of The Covid-19 Pandemic


The present global education system has been developed and adapted through past religious practices. There are several examples where our current formal education system mimics once 1500AD Roman Catholic churches which held compulsory morning sessions for children to develop knowledge about their culture, history and the bible practices in Latin.

Several other countries such as Ancient Egypt and China had religious leaders such as monks teaching groups about medicine and studies related to the art of living. The only difference between our current education system and previous education systems is that instead of solemnly focusing on religious studies our current system had developed to include several other studies but follows a high disciplinary structure where children by law should attend formal education and participate in an elaborate timetable that will guide them to living their own lives as adults once completed. This system of compulsory public-school education started in Europe in the early sixteen century and was fully adopted by the nineteenth-century worldwide. This system had continuously followed into the twenty-first century however the harsh levels of discipline had been relaxed. Throughout the years the rights of children have been established, therefore nowadays education is mainly focused on creating a better learning environment for children to overall benefit from the education system.

In the year 1918, the world faced its first twentieth-century pandemic. The virus, HIN1, present ancestor of SARS-CoV-2, infected one-third of the world’s population and almost killed five million individuals. When the 1918 pandemic arrived when the world was also suffering from World War One (WWI). The start of the twentieth century had initiated school nurses in schools that meant sick children were nursed at school instead of being spent home. This initiated also made schools develop other facilities such as school lunch programs, playgrounds and other outdoor activities. Therefore, when the pandemic hit the US, major city schools went with the slogan“ better off in schools” although later all schools had to face a four-month lockdown period. In 1918, it was more acceptable for parents to send their children to school to save them from the virus as during these times hygiene levels were unexpectable and technology was not available for children to purse online learning, President Woodrow Wilson declared that if children were better care at school under supervision than playing on the streets. However, towards late November a second wave of H1N1 strikes the country that resulted in a rate of 30% to 50% absentees which lead to the closure of all schools. Stay at home learning was carried out using books as the main resource, school nurses were also sent to homes to educate parents with health talks. SARS-CoV-2 pandemic or more commonly known as Covid-19 pandemic has used a different approach.

Similar to the 1918 pandemic, Covid-19 pandemic led to the closure of schools worldwide for months. Since the beginning of the twenty-first century as the use of technology has rapidly increased, this pandemic led schools to use eLearning as a valuable resource. Children young as kindergarten attendees had to rapidly involve to the learning culture where teachers taught through zoom lessons. Some countries such as Japan and Uruguay adopted a method where students attended schools on alternating days therefore keeping the balance between normal school learning environments before the pandemic and eLearning methods used during the pandemic. Through this pandemic, eLearning has been an extremely useful resource with its convivence and effective approach to bringing school environments to individual children’s home however there are some disadvantages. eLearning is only available for children who have access to the internet or worldwide web. Even in developed countries such as Australia, one in six children do not have access to the internet. Lack of internet effects these children’s learning process. eLearning does not give children the whole classroom learning experience where children actively engage with their teachers alongside classmates. eLearning restricts social interactions making children bored with learning. Besides, teachers are also over-pressured to providea learning experience that ismore engaging, a survey identified that most teachers had to put in unpaid extra hours to make eLearning possible thereby increasing stress upon teachers. Currently, we do not know how long this pandemic will last but even if it will last throughout the end of 2020, we should try to improve the above circumstance to make education during this pandemic to be of maximum benefit to both students and teachers.

Overall, the approach of the education system between the two pandemics have been different but both pandemics focused on providing effective education to all students amidst lockdowns and the spreading of the virus. It is clear that both systems have different advantages and disadvantages but at the end of the day, it is about what methodworks the best of the current situation.