New Challenges Facing Education Due To The Coronavirus

In March 2020, with the declaration of the state of alarm, all face-to-face education in Spanish territory was stopped. A situation that left almost 10 million students at home who began to receive their classes through digital platforms with which neither they nor their teachers were familiar. From that moment on, the failures of a system that was not prepared to move classrooms to homes began to be detected.

In many cases, families did not have equipment for their children to continue with classes. A reality that, according to INE data, in 2020, 93.2% of households whose monthly net income was higher than 1,600 euros had some type of computer ; On the other hand, this percentage decreased to 58.2% when the income did not reach 900 euros .

Meanwhile, in the course of confinement, mental health declined over the weeks as a result of the lack of routine socialization that used to be built between class exchanges and games on the playground.

Although it still has something prophetic to assure what are the real challenges that education faces and that the educational community will have to face, some of them are detectable.

New educational model
Digital education will charge – despite the fact that it already has it – a central role in training and, for this, it is essential that access to it is facilitated for students. Teaching-learning methods turn towards a hybridization of traditional education together with the introduction of technology.

Although it will be necessary to train teachers since according to the data of the study of the report ‘Teaching and Learning International Survey 2018’ , prepared by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), less than 40% of educators in the entire EU consider themselves prepared to use digital technologies in teaching.

In the case of Spain , based on the same study, only 38% of teachers felt good or very well prepared to use ICT in the development of their professional activity. In addition, almost 40% of teachers indicate that they have not received training on the use of new technologies applied to teaching-learning, compared to 56% of the average for OECD countries.

In predisposition to acquire digital skills, Spain also ranks as one of the countries with the lowest data. A recent report presented by the COTEC Foundation for Innovation ‘COVID-19 and education: problems, responses and scenarios’ , points out that in Spain 50% of teachers have the skills and professional resources to learn to integrate digital devices in education, compared to other countries such as South Korea, Canada and the United States, which are between 70 and 80%. Whereas, if it is observed from the point of view of the students, in countries like Sweden, Denmark, Estonia or Finland, more than 75% of them study in centers through an “effective” online platform.

The role of public institutions and bodies
The current education system has to be transformed in step with what is already described as the 4.0 revolution . Accelerated rhythms that increasingly precipitate public administrations and institutions to integrate technology as an essential element for the development of their skills.

The EU intends to carry out a set of initiatives for an “inclusive and accessible” education

The Executive and public administrations have tried to address the problems derived from this pandemic situation and have put mechanisms in place to alleviate the effects derived from it, but still insufficient. Even without knowing what would happen next, ten days before the declaration of the state of alarm, the Council of Ministers approved the Organic Law Project, which modifies Organic Law 2/2006, of May 3, on Education, and that regulates non-university education and would effectively repeal the LOMCE.

The criticized LOMLOE together with the forthcoming approval of the ” FP Law ” represent a step forward in the digitization of classrooms and modernization of teaching in Spain.

The European Union has launched its own Digital Education Action Plan (2021-2027) , through which it intends, on the one hand, to promote the development of a high-performance digital education system and, on the other, to improve digital skills and abilities. for digital transformation.

One example of its creation is the International Computer and Information Literacy Study (ICILS) in which more than 13 to 14-year-olds who participated in 2018 did not possess the most basic level of competence in digital skills. Through this plan, the EU intends to carry out a set of initiatives for an “inclusive and accessible” education that manages to face the existing challenges in education.

Demotivation and school dropout
However, the system faces greater challenges. The stoppage of classes has caused many young people to have become unmotivated – due to the lack of routine, habit and discipline of online study – but also physical distancing has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to the Spain 2020 Report, prepared by the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas (UPC), the feeling of loneliness has doubled among young people. In the survey, they affirm that 14.7% of those over 60 years old, 18% of those between 30 and 60 years old, and 31% of young people under 30 years old have felt lonely.

A demotivation that in many cases leads students to decide not to continue with their studies. Early school leaving in Spain , although it varies from one region to another, reaches 16% compared to 9.9% on average in the European Union .

In addition, in 2020 the dropout rate continues to be higher among men, 20.2%, than among women, 11.6% . Although the data has improved and there have been no highlights, it remains a central issue that must be addressed for the next courses.

For this, UNESCO highlights in its study ‘Promotion of the socio-emotional well-being of children and young people during crises, 2020’ , which is key to encourage from schools, the media and institutions, the development of emotional learning skills ( ASE) . Skills that help ” address and counteract social anxiety, emotional upheaval and frightening insecurity ” as a result of COVID-19, which is why, according to their research, ” developing ASE can lead to behaviors that allow approach stressful situations with calm and emotionally regulated responses and strengthen critical thinking to make better-informed decisions and actions. ”

The digital divide, the lack of digital education, the closure of rural schools, lack of motivation or school dropouts, are just some of the challenges that education faces and that must be corrected in order to achieve true educational inclusion.

But without sufficient financial resources for education, inequality in access to education will become more and more pronounced and the current educational crisis, which was already dragging the consequences of the 2008 financial crisis, will continue to worsen. Two issues that will slow down the objective of sustainable development (ODS) 4 , universal access to inclusive education, equitable and quality education for all.

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