Over the past two years, the education system around the world has suffered new trials and tribulations as the COVID-19 virus has overcome school hallways and changed the foundations of education as we know it. Across the globe, the virus has swept the halls of all schools, from daycares to universities. Students have faced academic challenges along with other challenges such as schedule adjustments, isolation, mental health crisis, and technology issues because of the inconsistent and constant closures. Different parts of the world are faced with different challenges based on age, race, ability, economy, gender, class, and many other social characteristics. However, all societies, no matter the different social factors, are working to achieve one goal: to get students back in the classroom.
Education is a pillar of society. Since March 2020, students all around the world were stripped from a normal education experience and asked to adjust to the impossible. Parents were left without jobs, siblings were caring for younger siblings while parents were working or trying to find work, people living pay check pay check, online class attendance dropping, the list could go on and on (B. Krista, 2020).
Kids, students, and parents alike have felt the void that leaving the classroom leaves. Since March 2020, 51 million, about 49% of all female primary school aged children have missed about three quarters of classroom time. 54 million primary school aged boys have missed the same, that is about 51% (Covid-19 and School Closures, 2021). While all corners of the world felt the consequences of school closures, some students faced unfair circumstances due to the high amount of closure. Countries in Latin America and South Asia were less likely to have students with internet access to continue studying from home than students in the United Statesor Europe were able to, resulting in a major loss to academic growth for developing countries (Covid-19 and School Closures, 2021). Over 31% of students around the globe did not have adapted use of technology to engage in remote learning (Education and Covid-19, 2020). It is safe to say that the past year and a half of closures, remote learning, and obstacles has ensured major setbacks in the progression of the global education system.
While each country faced unique challenges in education based on many factors, the United States education system also has had some hurdles to jump through. According to the Assistant Principal of Discovery Canyon Campus High School in Colorado Springs, CO., Andy Liddle, “Over the past 2 years there has been an emphasis on personal health and protection and ‘isolating’ from others. In order to ensure a successful health school environment, we need to do the opposite of this and “lean in” on each other and our collective strengths.” Principal Liddle suggests that one of the greatest challenges facing schools in the United States is relearning to lean on each other when we also need to isolate each other. In my interview with Mr. Liddle, he talks about more and more students facing mental health issues because of the idea that people are separated more then ever, but they need each other more than ever.
Another issue schools are facing is the resources to front the pandemic. While many countries face lack of technology to support remote learning, or even lack of resources in general, the United States enacted policy that would provide bests efforts to continue to support education institutions throughout the unexpected challenges that COVID-19 presented. As a part of the CARES Act that was enact in March 2020 came the Education Stabilization Fund which provided $30.75 billion dollars to four different grant funds that ensured education at all levels could continue in some capacity (Education Stabilization Fund, 2021). The policy lined out in this act ensures that funds are available for emergency relief, the creation of new educational programs, and to stabilize education despite the uncertain events (Education Stabilization Fund, 2021).
While the global education system has faced many challenges, there are always some glimpses of hope. All across the world, students were faced with challenges they never should have to see so young. However, this year, students are more resilient than ever. They are facing each challenge as is nothing could stop them because they already saw the worst. Students are learning to be problem solvers, to adapt, and to understand the importance of leaning on those around you for strength and support. While education around the globe has taken a hit, the CVOID-19 pandemic has been an eye-opener for educators, parents, legislators, and all students on how education can be made better and made a priority across the globe.
B., Krista. “Teacher Shares Eye-Opening Effect of School Changes and Covid-19 on America’s Youth.” Boys and Girls Club of America. Club Stories, July 20, 2020. https://www.bgca.org/news-stories/2020/July/Teacher-Shares-Eye-Opening-Effect-of-School-Changes-and-COVID-19-on-Americas-Youth?c_src=idm_cm_googleads&gclid=Cj0KCQjwwY-LBhD6ARIsACvT72Mj5DKZLyrPSM0l3a2uyKGoFIg2jGuWVx9O6tFG0xtlfnlQguNpUo8aAr9rEALw_wcB.
“Covid-19 and School Closures: One Year of Education Disruption.” UNICEF DATA, March 30, 2021. https://data.unicef.org/resources/one-year-of-covid-19-and-school-closures/.
“Education and Covid-19.” UNICEF DATA, September 2020. https://data.unicef.org/topic/education/covid-19/.
“Education Stabilization Fund.” Office of Elementary and Secondary Education. Department of Education, January 27, 2021. https://oese.ed.gov/offices/education-stabilization-fund/.