According to the UN, the coronavirus pandemic has affected 1.6 billion students in 190+ countries around the world. It’s clear that Covid-19 has been a monumental disruption; what’s not so clear is what should be done to bring education back to some semblance of normalcy moving forward.
The world was already facing a learning crisis prior to the pandemic. It was not on track to honour its United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) educational commitment of ensuring every girl and boy receives a free, equitable, and quality primary and secondary school education.
Then came the virus. And then the lockdowns.
The lockdown of educational institutions has impacted most of the world’s student population. Not since the Second World War have so many places of learning gone into lockdown at the same time and for the same reasons.
Extended closures deprive many of a full educational experience in the short term, but the long-term impact may be even more grave, with possible negative impacts on the economic opportunities for children and youth 5, 10 and 20 years from now.
Particularly serious is the potential impact of long-term closures on vulnerable and disadvantaged students from lower income families — for whom school is not just a means to future success but also a source of social services and even proper nutrition.
Technology path forward
The key in an environment with so many moving parts and so many subtleties and complexities, may be in trying to turn the challenge of the pandemic into the opportunity of the pandemic. While it may be difficult to muster up the enthusiasm, the Covid crisis can be viewed as a good thing, at least from an innovation perspective.
The year 2020 has seen some innovative approaches to education. Not too long into lockdown, distance learning solutions were brainstormed and implemented by governments and educational decision-makers. Inside a few weeks, teachers and students went from being locked out — their relationship severed — to being able once again to educate and to be educated. This time, however, the relationship was thanks in large part to technology.
Solutions for the new normal
The opinion exists among many that the “new normal” will eventually disappear; however, the Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been fairly clear that there will be no return to the way things were any time in the foreseeable future. If this does indeed turn out to be the case, educators and students should right now be exploring ways to guarantee quality education can be delivered to the maximum number of students.
Jabra solutions offer educators and students a number of pathways to “building back better” in the new normal. Two solutions in particular stand out in this regard:
- For students: Jabra’s Evolve series of headsets offer particularly older students best-in-class noise cancellation to aid concentration in almost any noise environment as well as top-tier sound for better communication.
- For educators: Jabra PanaCast gives teachers an outstanding communication and collaboration tool — the world’s first intelligent 180-degree Panoramic-4K plug-and-play video conferencing solution.
Jabra solutions are tailor-made for these times. Whether education in the future is delivered remotely, or a mixture of remote and in-person, an investment in the kinds of technologies that have already proven their value during the “first wave” lockdowns earlier in 2020 is a wise investment in students’ education. Such investments, made during a Covid-19 “lull period,” are an excellent way to build back better in education for what many authorities are promising is a new normal.