By: Geoffrey Alphonso, CEO, Alef Education
According to a recent UN report, the Covid-19 pandemic has wiped out 20 years of education gains. The widespread school closures across the globe impacted 1.57 billion students. While students in countries like the UAE experienced minimum disruptions, students in other countries, including some states in the US, experienced learning loss.
In the US, the pandemic left students on an average five months behind in mathematics and four months behind in reading by the end of the school year, revealed a McKinsey research. Worryingly, the study suggests that the pandemic could dampen this generation’s earning potential and constrict their opportunities far into adulthood.
The biggest game-changer between these countries comes down to the adoption of education technology. Even before 2020, UAE schools had started implementing ed-tech solutions in classrooms. By October 2020, the Ministry of Education ensured that all public schools across the UAE embraced a digital learning platform to provide undisrupted education. Narrowing the digital divide, i.e., the gap between those with sufficient knowledge and access to technology and those without, is imperative to humanity’s progress, growth, and development.
So as 192 countries join us at Expo 2020 in Dubai, the global education community must capitalize on this opportunity to discuss pressing issues, exchange knowledge, and unlock new opportunities. Coming through, perhaps, after the worst of the pandemic, Expo 2020 Dubai presents us with a unique prospect of engaging global industry leaders and governments in how we can help our students not only get their education back on track but also how to we prepare them for a changing world.
We need to collectively assess the damage the pandemic caused and learn how we can do better from one another. For instance, now as many countries are preparing for the post-pandemic world, we need to approach education from a new perspective.
Omnichannel is a word that has usually been associated with retail, but in the education context, an omnichannel strategy would mean the implementation of a seamless and flexible learning experience across devices, platforms, and channels.
Furthermore, during the dedicated thematic week on Knowledge and Learning at Expo 2020 Dubai, global educators need to address questions like, what are the crucial topics and skills students need to learn in school to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution? How do we balance our pedagogical methodologies between traditional modes and advanced ed-tech solutions? How do we nurture a generation of visionaries and game-changers? How do we upgrade our education for the 21st century?
As educators, we are responsible for nurturing the future leaders of the 21st century, and events like the Expo 2020 Dubai can help us achieve this vision better.