Impact of COVID-19 on Students’ Educational Achievements

December 31, 2020

The education community will forever remember March 2020 as the month when schools closed their doors, not only in the US but all over the world. Schools in the US closed due to the deadly pandemic. We are living in an era where our educational system is at great risk and we are on the verge of facing a gigantic educational crisis. As a result of the near-total closure of schools, universities, as well as colleges, the educational system is being affected. Coronavirus has created the largest disruption if the education system as it has affected 190 countries. In addition to this, the closure of schools as well as other learning spaces has affected around 94% of the world’s student population.

Furthermore, the COVID-19 crisis and the disruption it has caused to the education system is far from over. As a result of this, the US has still not decided a date to reopen schools and universities. As schools have started online education, most students and teachers are facing issues due to several reasons. In this blog, we have identified some of the major risks as well as some opportunities for the school closure on teachers and students.

Risks

1.    Staying Engaged

Maintaining the interest and engagement of children, specifically young secondary school students is essential. Although dropout rates in the country are still high and a long period of disengagement can lead to increasing the dropout rates. Students learn to interact through social relationships and peer-to-peer interactions. Hence, staying connected with the school by any means is important.

2.    Learning

The ministries of education are worried that if they continue with the online learning strategy, only children belonging to better-off families will be able to achieve an education. In this way, learning can be affected as not every student has an access to technological devices. Hence, strategies should be developed for avoiding differences in opportunities to expand and cause the ongoing education crisis to have an even larger impact on the learning of poor children.

3.    Distance Learning

Most schools in the US have already adopted the distance learning approach either by using technology for facilitating online learning or by distributing physical packets of materials. although these approaches are risky because students are required to sit and click through presentations, read documents online, or watch videos, which can be boring. This is the worst form of learning due to no engagement.

4.    Impact on Teachers

Teachers had little or no notice about the closure of schools and shifting to online learning. As a result of this, they have been overwhelmed with all kinds of products and materials. the current situation has not only impacted students, but teachers are also facing issues in adjusting to the new learning environment, as they have to come up with engaging lectures.

5.    Widening the Equity Gap

Although progress has been made since the past decade as most students now have access to devices and connectivity. However, not every student has this opportunity to access digital devices. Hence, the schools are planning to provide educational material on other devices, so they can be reached.

6.    Unequal Access to Technology

Another way through which COVID-19 has impacted the education system is due to the lack of availability of reliable or fast internet access, most students in rural areas are being affected. Since schools have adopted online learning as an alternative approach to continue the academic year, some students experience obstacles to continue learning.

7.    Unequal Access to Educational Resources

The ability of students to access educational materials and textbooks for studying is also affected because of a lack of exceptions and limitations to copyright. Several schools are trying to take initiatives to provide access to open educational resources or even for understanding copyright limitations.

8.    Nutrition and Food Insecurity

Since nutrition plays an important role in academic performance as well as the cognitive development of students. As many students depended on discounted or free meals at school, but due to the closure of schools, nutrition is also compromised. Although this aspect generally is overseen.

9.    Student Learning Outcomes

The closing of schools has negatively impacted student learning outcomes because students are deprived of opportunities for development and growth. These disadvantages are higher for under-privileged students and have fewer educational opportunities and resources. Hence, students have been gaining literacy slower during school closure.

10. Impact on Early Childhood Education

Early childhood programs have remained the most affected throughout this pandemic. Since almost all primary as well as secondary schools have closed due to the epidemic, early childhood education is affected. The closure of schools can slow the rate of literacy ability gain among kindergarten students.

Opportunities

1.    Blended Learning Approaches

Although interactive and face-to-face learning approaches are far better than the online learning approach, but teachers can mix these two approaches to further enhance the quality of education. In this way, a better learning experience can be created and teachers can experiment and innovate with these online tools.

2.    Increased Respect for Teachers and Schools

Due to distance learning, students will most likely realize that teachers can’t be replaced and schools are more than buildings. Having face-to-face communication with the professor can’t be replicated in online learning.

3.    Quality Teaching and Learning Materials

Professors are taking inspirations and ideas from other educators and sources for enabling high-quality online learning tools. Several schools are planning to create pages that allow parents and educators to have access to free materials.

4.    Improved Learning

Due to growth in teacher collaboration, learning can be enhanced. Teachers can draw on the approaches other teachers have taken through the community online. In this way, they can share the burden and also make things a little easier.

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