It’s worthwhile to reflect on the lessons we learned and the challenges we faced as the year comes to an end. In 2024, the world of education was still reeling from the extended closure of schools due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The struggles of the previous school year to keep education online continued into the new one and helped pave the way for multiple technology integrations in the teaching process. When the schools reopened, and students and faculty returned to campus, new challenges emerged.
1. Absence of Customized Learning
Online learning is a good temporary measure but does not provide the same personalized learning that occurs in a classroom. In hybrid or online modes, the lack of personal interaction between students and teachers compromises learning quality.
2. Learning Gaps and Losses
Students across grades suffered from learning gaps or losses despite a rapid shift to online education. According to the Learning Loss & Education Recovery Loss 2022 report by Smile Foundation less than 50% of children were able to cope learning in the last 2 years.
Around 58 percent felt that the closing of schools had prevented students from gaining social skills. After the schools reopened the greatest challenge was to close these gaps and develop learning recovery programmes.
3. Addiction to the Technology
The effects of technology addiction on students include excessive screen time and lack of socialization, as well as attention deficit. The signs became more evident when the schools reopened 2022, and students returned to their classrooms following excessive use of technology.
Teachers had a Herculean task to motivate students, keep them productively engaged and have them participate in mapping out their learning trajectory.
4. Difficulties of Assessment
The online nature of the evaluation made it necessary to redesign assessment strategies. These assessments did not provide a very good indication of students‘ ability to understand concepts from different disciplines.
5. Educational Program Upgradation
Curriculums were to be updated to reflect the changing and evolving needs of students. The curricula must include programmes to recover from learning loss. Some schools have a Health Curriculum that makes health education a part of formal education.
6. Students’ Mental Health Challenges
Mental health issues were evident in students across all educational levels, not only during online classes but even after the return of traditional classes.
7. Teachers Being Re-killed and Up-killed
Upskilling and Reskilling was one of the greatest challenges teachers faced. They had to go through ICT training. They were taught to create and deliver customised lessons, use digital tools with confidence and learn how to deliver synchronous or asynchronous lessons. Upskilling and Reskilling will be the norm in years to come, given the rapid pace of technological advancement and the rise of new age pedagogy.
The entire education community learned a lot from tackling these challenges and overcoming them. In our field, we all learned about the importance of resilience, improvisation and innovation. These lessons will equip educators to better nurture children today into leaders of the future.