(December 29, 2022)
New Delhi, Dec 29, 2022: As the year draws to a close, it’s worth our while to look back on the challenges faced and take forward the precious lessons learned. The world of education was reeling from the prolonged closure of schools caused by the Covid-19 pandemic when the year 2022 clocked in.
The challenges of the previous year’s struggle with keeping education going in the online mode spilled over into the new year and paved the way for adopting multiple technology integrations within the teaching processes. New challenges appeared when the schools reopened and students and teachers returned to campus.
Online learning was a good stopgap measure, but it failed to provide the personalized learning experience that takes place in a physical classroom. The impersonal interaction between teachers and students in the hybrid or online mode compromises the quality of learning.
Despite a prompt shift to online learning, students across grades experienced learning gaps or learning losses. According to the Learning Loss and Education Recovery Loss 2022 Report by Smile Foundation, less than 50 percent of children have been able to cope with learning over the past 2 years.
About 58 percent of teachers felt that students missed out on acquiring social skills due to the closure of schools. Once the schools reopened, the biggest challenge was to address these gaps and create learning recovery programmes.
Students are getting increasingly addicted to technology and some of the direct consequences of this addiction are excessive screen time, lack of physical activity, lack of in-person socializing, and attention deficit. These signs were all the more apparent when schools reopened in 2022 and children returned to classrooms after excessive indulgence in technology.
Assessment strategies were a major challenge as they had to be redesigned due to the online nature of evaluation. The results of these assessments were not very promising in judging students’ understanding of concepts across disciplines.
The curriculum was to be upgraded to meet the evolving and changing needs of the students. Learning loss recovery programmes have to be included within the curricula. Some schools even incorporate a Health Curriculum to make health education an important part of formal learning.
Students across the entire spectrum of the education world faced mental health challenges which became apparent not just during the online classes but also upon the resumption of physical classes.
The NISA Learning Loss Report 2022 details the result of a study conducted on 1502 students across 17 Indian states. 42.3 percent of the respondents said they went through stress, tension, and anxiety because of Covid-19. Addressing these mental and emotional health issues is a big task for educators.
One of the biggest challenges for teachers was upskilling and reskilling. Many had to undergo ICT training. They learned to use digital tech tools competently, create customized lessons and deliver synchronous and asynchronous lessons. Given the inexorable pace of advancement in technology and the emergence of new-age pedagogy, upskilling and reskilling are going to be the norm even in the years ahead.
Meeting these challenges head-on and overcoming the odds was indeed a learning experience for the entire education community. We all learned the importance of solidarity, resilience, adaptability, improvisation, and innovation in our field. These lessons will indeed equip educators better to nurture the children of today into leaders of tomorrow.