Post Pandemic: Fundamental Shifts Required To Reshape Education Marketing

With the coronavirus spreading rapidly across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, countries had to take swift and decisive actions to mitigate the development of a full-blown pandemic.

Unexpected and widespread events have always led to substantial and tectonic shifts in the way society operates. Be it drastic climate change and global warming that brought about the necessity to look for renewable sources of energy, or World War II, where women proved that they could do work meant for men, while men went to war, and hence began the journey of successful women who never looked back. The pandemic has also brought about such a change in the world of education. The whole world has been forced to experiment and rely on a remote form of education. The online medium was definitely the future of education, but the pandemic has accelerated the whole process and brought the future much faster, to which now all have to adapt.

With the coronavirus spreading rapidly across Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States, countries had to take swift and decisive actions to mitigate the development of a full-blown pandemic. In a matter of days, during the pandemic period, schools, colleges, and educational institutes had to close down their premises and shift the classroom teaching to an online portal. As of March 13, the OECD estimated that over 421 million children were affected due to school closures announced in almost 39 countries. Apart from that, another 22 countries had announced partial "localized" closures. These sudden changes and uncertainties caused inconveniences and discomfort that set off an unplanned and rapid shift in the education sector. But, it also opened the door to many opportunities, highlighted existing and new disparities, and gave rise to several challenges that were ignored to date in the education sector globally.

Both teachers and students were uncomfortable when virtual learning was suddenly enforced, but it has been more than six months, and the classes are still going on with the help of digital portals, online chat rooms, and video-conferencing applications. Both the educator and the learner have started figuring out and using innovative methods to exchange notes, write tests, and submit projects. Though it is still early to measure the impact of COVID-19 on education, there are definite indications of a notable transformation in the way we see education facilities and delivery, which has been set in motion due to the pandemic.

Focus on training and quality of education: Due to this sudden change, it has become evident that teachers should receive training for such situations as the students. It is a digital world, and the best way to prepare the students for a successful future in this world is to train them to be digitally savvy. This new method of teaching has channelized everyone's focus to what is important, an updated and informative curriculum, an upskilled educator, and an adaptable learning medium. With time, content can be digitized, teachers can be trained, and the focus can be shifted to the all-round development of the student.

The digital divide and need for intervention: While most of the schools have moved on with the online mode of learning, there are still geographies, and schools, that do not have the facility or the capacity to adapt to the digital way. Poor network connections, unavailability of systems, and limited resources have hindered their participation in this new mode of teaching. The message is clear that the idea of online education is not the problem; the problem is the means to make it happen. Close to 3 billion people over the world have no internet connection and are not online. It is a reality check as to what needs to be improved and where the focus should lie when we talk about improvement and reforms.

Education is not limited to infrastructure: The biggest take from the method of online teaching is that learning is not limited to buildings. Schools and colleges have been limited to their infrastructure and used it as one of the selling points to lure learners. This new form of teaching, takes away the cost of construction, the cost of maintenance, the cost of travel, uniforms, and many more miscellaneous expenses that add up to the cost of education. Virtual learning, if applied correctly, will be able to take schooling to remote villages and solve the problem of illiteracy in certain regions. This mode of teaching is not limited to borders and geographies and will bring about a globalization of the education curriculum where countries come together to learn from each other.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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