Dealing with the Unexpected | Virtual Learning
With the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, Turkey, Syria earthquake, varied protests, political crisis, and the disrupted global value chains, several parts of the world seem to be on fire!
The effects of several global happenings are felt differently across all sections of society. But in this recovery phase of the global pandemic, students are one of the most impacted sections of all.
Even before the pandemic around 6.1% of the US student population dropped out of school. And by the year 2020, this figure dropped to 5.3%
Then came the challenging time of the pandemic, which further aggravated the learning losses and deepened the learning poverty (from 53% before the pandemic to 70% after it)
Any crisis in education has a sinister impact on students across the world. And despite several measures, our education system still struggles to recover these learning losses caused by varied unforeseen circumstances.
While the strategies adopted by the policymakers are in the process of dealing with these challenges, the need to adopt alternatives is equally essential to drive a more sustainable recovery.
The pandemic has already highlighted the advantages of online schooling. And most stakeholders have accepted it’s potential to combat catastrophic situations.
Let’s delve deeper to know how Virtual learning can help our students in dealing with the unexpected:
Enabling Educational Continuity
The global village continues to see disruptions in varied forms. And most of these create safety issues for students across all levels of formal education. In the past couple of years, our mainstream education system has explored a credible option to deliver instructions without the need to visit a physical campus. Distance learning, blended, hybrid or fully online schooling are some mediums that completely bring down/reduce the need to be a physical campus.
Virtual learning creates an environment which is perfect alternative for students to earn credits even if they fail to be a part of a traditional campus. As accredited online schools now offer virtual programs for the worldwide student population. Students from all parts of the world can now mitigate their learning losses with the help of this convenient option.
Ideal for Extraordinary Situations
For a very long time now, the world is surviving amidst extraordinary circumstances now. The long-term effects of the recession and the devastating impact of the pandemic have taken a toll on the financial stability of millions of households across the world. The United States Census Bureau disclosed some alarming figures about the median household income of their population (in 2021).
- As of 2020, the median household income decreased by around 2.9%, this is the worst since the year 2011.
- The median earnings of all types of workers decreased by 1.2%.
- The overall increase in the poverty rate between 2019-2020 was 1% (with a poverty rate of 11.4%).
These findings (financial conditions) are directly related to the educational attainment of the citizens. And the students in the low-income category tend to remain less educated than the higher-income category. The hardships created by these unforeseen happenings boil down to the lower and middle-income groups in most parts of the world. As a result, these sections of society need a more cost-effective and credible educational solution to stay within the mainstream system.
Supports Vulnerable Groups
Despite the right to education, our systems are not free from inequalities. We are battling the challenge of discrimination against vulnerable groups for decades now. And these issues continue to hamper our goals like inclusion and accessible education for all.
UNESCO identifies these vulnerable groups as refugees, migrants, differently-abled individuals, girls, etc.
It is proved that the utilization of resources for educational equality is a dominant factor that determines student performance. And the most effective tool to reduce educational inequality is virtual learning. In the present times, the world is looking for a sustainable solution to improve student learning outcomes by subsiding learning gaps. And technology is a great equalizer for students from both advantaged and adisadvantaged backgrounds. Online schooling reaches every nook and corner of the world that is connected to the internet. And the good news is that the smartphone penetration rate seems quite promising in the years to come.
Here’s a quick look at the smartphone penetration rates from 2022-25:
A virtual schooling platform operates through an internet connection. And resources/online content can be accessed through a compatible handset/device. Accredited online schools deliver instructions and conduct online classes through an online learning platform. A student can study 24/7/365 through this choice and manage to stay an active member of the mainstream education system without stepping out of his/her home.
All in all, this educational alternative is nurturing a healthy inclusive school culture by saving the at-risk student population within the regular educational system.
Virtual learning helps students thrive despite the Loss of a Caregiver
140,000 U. S children have lost their primary or secondary caregiver during the pandemic. Such unfortunate incidents shorten the student’s schooling span in many cases. And once again they are under the threat of dropping out of school. Orphanhood due to any reason is highly unexpected and life changing. However, the long-term impact of such happenings can be reduced with the right emergency action.
The post-pandemic future is highly dependent on more convenient choices like virtual education. This option not only brings down the need for parental support. In fact, it also helps students to study under the guidance of a trained teacher.
The negative effects of unforeseen life circumstances cannot be mitigated completely. But thanks to the blessing of new-age technology, unpredictable obstacles are no more a hindrance to a student’s academic journey. School education is now beyond the physical vicinity of a traditional school, making homeschooling, online schooling, and virtual learning possible for all students in the comforts of their homes.
It is rightly said that every dark cloud has a silver lining!
And Covid-19 has brought a ray of hope for millions of students by bringing the world close to Virtual learning. Fortunately, many of us have already experienced virtual schooling in the past couple of years. And the virtual space is now a perfect worry-free option for students beyond the harsh realities of their lives!
Thanks for Reading!