It is unarguable that education in this country has, for the most part, largely been stuck in a rut. Until now. There are signs suggesting that Covid-19’s disruption of the education sector could have a lasting impact on the way we teach and learn. Our current education model is very much top-down in its approach, where a teacher instructs and provides information, usually only utilising one teaching modality. Yet Educational Psychologists have always contended that children learned best when they constructed their own knowledge, and learnt tasks that are culturally relevant.
The spread of Covid-19, and the closure of schools, has become a catalyst for change, forcing us to look for innovative ways for our children to continue their schooling. Educationalists, government and the business sector have come together to utilize digital platforms for teaching and learning. These platforms are opening the doors to more flexible and interactive ways of learning, where the learner takes ownership of their educational experience, working at their own pace and engaging with the learning material.
Our education sector, which has long been ripe for change, now needs to adapt to our rapidly changing circumstances, but instead of looking for stop-gap solutions, let’s consider how education in this country can benefit from these changes in the long-run. Can we change how we curate content in a way that benefits both visual and auditory learners? How do we make lessons more engaging so that even learners with concentration challenges remain engrossed and involved in their learning? And most importantly, how do we close the digital divide in our country. The use of digital platforms to replace the classroom means that the quality of learning is dependent on the level and quality of digital access. Unless data costs decrease and access increases, a vast number of our learners will not be able to benefit from this educational paradigm shift.
This crisis has also reminded us of the skills our learners need in this unpredictable world such as resilience, creative problem solving, and above all, adaptability. The question now is, does our current schooling system facilitate the development of these skills?