Challenges for School Education During and After the Pandemic
Education is an area that the coronavirus health crisis has seriously impacted. Nearly 168 million children were affected by the closure of their schools. The next Education Summit seeks to analyze how these challenges were faced, how to move forward, and what strategies are implemented in a pandemic and post-pandemic scenario.
At the onset of the pandemic, society was forced to restructure various activities due to the need for social distance, the imposition of quarantines, and mobility restrictions.
Regarding the upcoming UC Chile International Education Summit 2022, Paulo Volante, a faculty member of the UC Chile Faculty of Education, shared his view on the adaptation of schools during this time.
"The feeling of shutting down and interrupting teaching activities caused the initial shock, which lasted about 30 days, where we didn't know what to do. It was feeling like everything had to stop. It lasted longer in some places, but it was certainly a global phenomenon," said Paulo Volante. He is the academic director of the XI Inter-American Conference on School Management and Leadership.
The Covid-19 pandemic arrived abruptly.
It forced the academic world to deal with the total shutdown of schools, a prolonged situation they had rarely faced before.
According to UNICEF, from the beginning of the pandemic until September 2021, the world lost 1.8 trillion hours of face-to-face learning due to lockdowns.
"This is a number that will continue to rise," the agency warned. In total, 168 million children have been affected by this situation.
The COVID-19 and School Closures report, published in March 2021 by UNICEF, found that worldwide, 14 countries missed almost all classroom instruction time due to school closures between March 2020 and February 2021.
Most of these countries are in Latin America and the Caribbean, and nearly 98 million school-age children were affected. Of the 14 countries, Panama was one of the countries with the highest number of days of full school closures, followed by El Salvador, Bangladesh, and Bolivia.
Schools have not been fully closed in Chile, but changes have been made to use remote, face-to-face, and hybrid learning. The latter is one of the main novelties presented in this atypical scenario and remains in use to date.
The next version of the #UCEducationSummit, held between January 10 and 13, 2022, will address how national and foreign schools faced this and other learning situations, among other topics.
"We have called this version 'A pandemic or post-pandemic outlook,' as we may have to get used to this situation," said Patricio Donoso. He is the Provost for Institutional Management and President of the International Education Summit.
Adaptation and Use of Technologies
After the abrupt closure of schools, they were forced to stop and adapt to resources that had no place in the classroom before. Zoom, Meet, and Teams are some of the most recognized technologies that made it possible to resume classes virtually.
For Professor Volante, this adaptation was a good sign for the national education system. However, as he explained, not all countries had the same educational experience, whether remote or face-to-face.
Countries such as Bolivia and Bangladesh are some examples where, due to the lack of technological progress, they had to adapt to remote classrooms from scratch.
"We want to learn from these experiences and evidence, so we can see how local and foreign leaders have dealt with this situation," said the professor.
The International Education Summit will feature representatives of the educational community from different parts of the world in two major activities: The XI School Management and Leadership Conference and the XVIII Higher Education Management Conference.
The School Management and Leadership Conference will celebrate its eleventh anniversary on January 10 and 11.
One of its main focuses will be the need for school leaders during the pandemic.
On the other hand, the Higher Education Management Conference will be held on January 12 and 13, thus reaching its eighteenth version.
The event will be attended by various national and international professionals from the educational world. Additionally, the event has the University of Pennsylvania and the Inter-American Educational Leadership Network (RILE) support.
Improving the Experience and Recognition of Learning Losses
The process of adapting education to fully remote learning led to another challenge for the academic world. The differences in the system became more acute, and the adaptation also required filling in these gaps.
For Paulo Volante, management and leadership are essential tools to face the challenges of education, including those that have arisen due to the pandemic.
"The challenge for education management is to go beyond a simple diagnosis. But to move forward in the design and implementation of new student-centered systems while accepting the internal differences of the Chilean school system. Hope lies in the progress that has been made and in the solutions that are being found."
This project identified the key and essential lessons, allowed to frame and focus the topics to be covered, helping teachers, but above all, helped students because it increased the amount of testing.
This example illustrates the importance of applied management, i.e., going beyond planning and executing. In this sense, school systems will have to seek synergies between what already exists and necessary innovations.
"Systems are quite marked and stable. That's part of their function. They bring conservation and tradition. On the other hand, they provide an opportunity for change since they are built based on new teachers, students, and a changing community with new tools. They shape other realities that did not exist 11 years ago when an education event such as the Summit was beginning," reflected the Academic Director of the School Management and Leadership Conference.
The invitation to discuss the educational situation, its needs, problems, and opportunities are open to all people and stakeholders in the field.
To this end, the International Education Summit will feature different activities that encourage dialogue and sharing experiences:
- International Conferences: International experts from Asia, America, and Europe will present the main trends and challenges in school and higher education.
- Presentations: In this space for collaboration and learning, participants will access videos on demand. Managers and professionals from schools and higher education will share innovative projects and their results, experiences in educational management, leadership practices, inclusion, and academic support, among others.
- Virtual Café: This event will be an opportunity to get to know professionals and managers working in common areas. Through informal topic-based conversations, participants will share reflections and experiences.
The educational world will have to remain vigilant on how to change the environment, either with new quarantines or back-to-school plans.
"We seek to resolve an issue that has been worrying us for a long time. The ultimate goal is the comprehensive instruction of students," said Andrés Bernasconi. He is Academic Director of the XVIII Higher Education Management Conference.