“Crises like the current pandemic serve as ‘stress test’ for our systems. It is important to learn from them and address the issues as we discover them. As they say, the worst part of a crisis is letting it go waste!”
Many studies have been conducted and reports published on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Education. We have also covered some of these questions in our earlier issues of our blog. (Read: Learning in the time of Corona, Teachers and the Pandemic).
A key focus of some of these reports has been the attempts to leverage the crisis to make transformations in the Educational system. But these have been typically limited to the acceleration of the digitalization of Education and the enhanced utilization of eLearning. But a recent report published by Rennie Center, a think tank based in Boston, USA, takes this to a more substantial level.
In the 2021 winter report ‘Condition of Education in the Commonwealth‘, Rennie Center has looked at the impact of the pandemic in Massachusetts and come up with a set of interesting observations and recommendations. Like in most other places, the existing structural problems in Education there have been exacerbated by Covid. The report goes into the root causes of this problem and looks at structurally how these problems have been responsible for enabling the impact to be compounded.
The report focuses on how a strong intersection of School and Community could have helped to contain the fallout of the sudden school closures and loss of parental income for many of the low-income households. They also look at how this could be strategically channelled in order to solve the longer-term problems of the Education in such communities. They identified three major priority areas that could help with this:
Holistic Learning: A system that serves students with a wide range of abilities, interests, and lived experiences.
Shared Leadership: Strong commitment to incorporating diverse voices (including those of students) in educational decision-making.
Multiple Pathways to Careers: As every student has different talents, interests, and aspirations, preparing students for a career should be equally individualized.
Education can thrive and be fruitful only with the close collaboration of the all the stakeholders – schools, teachers, students and the community. Deficiencies in this collaboration are revealed when unforeseen crises show up. Crises like the current pandemic serve as ‘stress test’ for our systems. It is important to learn from them and address the issues as we discover them.
As they say, the worst part of a crisis is letting it go waste!