Prospect and Challenges emerging out of Covid-19 pandemic:
Education Point of View

Mukhlisa Tasreen

March 2020 will always be known in the education community as the month when almost all the world’s educational institutes shut their doors. We are living amidst what is potentially one of the greatest threats in our lifetime to global education, a gigantic educational crisis. As of March 28, 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic is causing more than 1.6 billion children and youth to be out of school in 161 countries. This is close to 80% of the world’s enrolled students. We were already experiencing a global learning crisis, as many students were in school, but were not learning the fundamental skills needed for life. This pandemic has the potential to worsen these outcomes even more if we do not act fast.

The speed of the closure of the educational institutions has led to rapid move to distance learning. Consequently, this has allowed little time for planning or reflection on both the potential risks to safeguard against and the potential opportunities to leverage. There are basically three points to be worried about in this phase of the crisis that might have an immediate impact on children and youth:

  • Losses in learning
  • Increased dropout rates
  • Children missing their most important meal of the day

Moreover, most countries have very unequal education systems, and these negative impacts will be felt disproportionately by poor children. When it rains, it pours for them.

With every crisis come deep challenges and opportunities for transformation-past education crises have shown that it is possible to build back better. Online has become the default mode of education during this lockdown period. At least for two decades now, Ed-Tech enthusiasts have been predicting that technology will become the biggest intermediary of teaching-learning processes. In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, millions of students across the globe have been driven out of their institute spaces, and teachers are confined to their homes. Faculty and students are grappling with the sudden new norms of completely tech-mediated teaching and learning. About 60 million students across the globe are limited to home during the crucial months of February-April, which generally see a flurry of curricular and assessment activities. Institutions and students alike are under pressure to not lose academic time and the only solution is- go completely online.

With the prevailing situation, we have come across challenges and also opportunities, may be, such as:

  • Shift to distance learning is a real risk because this can be very solitary and didactic when you’re just asking students to sit and watch videos, read documents online, click through presentations- that’s really dull. The worst form of learning is to sit passively and listen. It serves nobody well, especially those who are the furthest behind.
  • Teachers had little or no notice about the closure and shifting to online learning can be challenging. They may be overwhelmed with all sorts of materials but at the same time, they are just like the rest of us in experiencing this new world. They are trying to deal with their individual lives and find new ways to make sure that learning continues.
  • Widening of equity gaps is evident. Over the last decade, progress has been made in the number of students who have access to devices and connectivity, making this move to online learning possible. At the same time, not every child has that access and we need to ensure those kids get access to learning resources as well.
  • Poor experience of Ed-Tech will impact mental health of students because all of them are not used to it. Test scores will be impacted; people will become unhappy as the mental health effects of being isolated will be profound. We must be prepared for that.


  • Teacher collaboration will grow during this pandemic which will help the teacher profession to come out of this crisis stronger by working together. There are many resource-sharing platforms for teachers. One of the most important thing teachers can do now is draw on what others are doing: form community online, share the burden and make things easier.
  • Quality teaching and learning materials will be better curate and more widely used. Educators are looking to other educators as well as trusted sources to help curate high-quality online learning tools having free access. Live streaming classes are made available that connects young people with scientists, researchers, educators and storytellers.
  • Teachers and educational institutes will receive more appreciation for their important role in society. I think it will be easier to understand that schools aren’t just buildings and teachers are irreplaceable. There’s something magic about that in-person connection which enables the teachers to support the unique skills of their learners-that’s very hard to replicate in a distance learning environment.
  • This crisis will help us come together across boundaries. We would be remiss if we didn’t take away a greater sense of empathy for each other-the idea that we can work through anything together-from this crisis. I think it’s an opportunity for the education sector to unite, forge connections and share. Prior to this crisis, I don’t think that we’ve been able to do this, and we will have missed a big opportunity if we don’t try to do that now.

The rapid spread of the virus has left us with no way out but to seek safety and isolate ourselves in the confines of our homes. Educators, administrators, service providers, parents and students worldwide are feeling the extraordinary ripple effect of the novel Corona virus as educational institutes shut down amid the public health emergency. Like other sectors, education is suffering at all levels. However, with today’s advanced technologies, we can come out of this pandemic stronger, wiser and better.

Back to Home Page

Jul 5, 2020

Mukhlisa Tasrin

Your Comment if any