Home News & Stories Virtual Town-Hall: Education before and after COVID-19

Virtual Town-Hall: Education before and after COVID-19

Our final Town Hall as part of our #COVID19 open virtual discussions was about the state of #Education before and after the #CoronaVirus pandemic!

Five accomplished education professionals brought their experience and perspectives to discuss #challenges and #opportunities for education during and after COVID-19 - Read on to learn about our important take-aways and for the full call recording!

On May 24th, 2020,  five experienced educators from diverse world regions, along with Melton Fellows, partners, and friends, shared their views on Education during and after COVID-19. Our panelists:

  • Candace Banks (Therapist; Peoria Unified School District, USA): Challenges and opportunities for education – the implications of school closures on special education in the U.S.
  • Carlos Rilling (Deputy Director of Undergraduate Affairs, Universidad de Chile): Equity concerns in Higher Education: How is the experience of students going to change post-COVID-19.
  • Cynthia Muhonja (Women rights activist & founder of Life Lifters, Kenya): The effects of Covid-19 on girls education in rural communities in Africa and how countries can effectively address them.
  • Jörg Kindermann (Teacher at Gemeinschaftsschule Wenigenjena, Germany): How are schools dealing with the crisis: hygiene measures to keep students safe.
  • Dr. Millicent Adjei (Adjunct Lecturer and Director of Diversity and International Programs, Ashesi University): Projected implications of COVID-19 on educational systems in Africa: Opportunities and barriers impacting responses of participants (governments, educational institutions, students, and families).

The TownHall raised questions on the divide in education, how the pandemic could further worsen the access to education in impoverished communities, and how the already disadvantaged continue to suffer the worst. There were, however, some saving graces, some adaptability measures, and new norms in education that were eye-openers for all present.

Kunal Kanase, a participant of our Global Solvers Co-Lab: 13-5-3 UN-limited, asked:

“How will online platforms like edX, Coursera help the education system, and what will be their role after this pandemic?”

Melton Fellow Tryphine Clara shared,

“I think the pandemic has also made us question the whole concept of what is education, analyze the already existing educational structures, and see what are the drawbacks within these systems. Is education or should I say learning confined within the four walls of a classroom or its much more?”

Some other important questions raised during the TownHall addressed the issue of social distancing in schools and colleges, curriculum development, up-skilling educators, improving access to online education, and more.

  • How can schools and colleges plan the timeline for the current and upcoming academic year, given the unpredictability of Covid-19 and lockdowns?
  • Universities and schools are very expensive in Chile – Do they lower cost for their emergency teaching? What kind of capacity programs exist for teachers and academics to deliver good remote education? Did universities set up training?
  • The current scenario is also exposing the wide gap between private and public schools. Those in government schools are lagging behind and its really sad. How will access to free education improve considering more and more schools are moving online?

We also got to hear some measures being implemented in different parts of the world, and what could potentially be the ‘new normal’ in the education sector.

Melton Fellow and Panelist Candace Banks shared,

“Schools are making several plans. In Arizona there are plans for returning to the school physically, a hybrid model – part online part on campus and delaying the school year and extending time through next summer possibly. For now, we have done online sessions were we suggest activities for the parent and child to try at home and then provide feedback and suggestions on how to engage the child.”

Melton Fellow, Director of Operations, and herself a parent, Patricia Ortiz also added,

“Some schools in Chile, referring to middle and high schools – are offering special consideration to families who are facing a hard financial situation and are not in the position to pay a monthly fee. Another concern is how online education and lack of physical social interaction is affecting some students emotionally.” 

These were just a few of the highlights from the conversation. Answers to some of the pertinent questions raised above, more important conversations around education and other diverse perspectives are available at the full call recording.
Catch the full recording here, and stay connected with us!