Jamal Bin Huwaireb reflects on the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic to lifelong learning in the Arab region
The Arab region, in common with many other
parts of the world,
faces significant challenges in achieving lifelong learning, notably high
levels of illiteracy and education systems damaged by poverty and conflict. The toppling of governments during the ‘Arab Spring’
and conflict between and within
countries have destroyed
education systems in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, while seriously damaging
opportunities for learning
in other Arab countries. The COVID-19 pandemic is now undermining the economic
activity on which individuals, families
and communities depend.
While people are struggling to earn, they cannot use their resources to learn. And, without learning, they are condemned to a life focused on subsistence only, with young people
increasingly exposed to the
temptations of criminal behaviour and terrorism.
Communities and governments seek to provide social
support in the form of health and education, as well as routes
to gainful employment or entrepreneurship
for youths and young adults. Even in wealthy countries, there are challenges in providing sufficient resources for health,
education and employment. The pandemic
is placing yet more strain on budgets
and institutions, and creating additional challenges and demands. Continue reading →
The COVID-19 crisis has made online distance learning the new norm for many. It has also prompted stakeholders to be more creative and agile, in ways that could make open and online learning better and more inclusive, writes Jonghwi Park
Few areas of human life are
untouched by the crisis. From techniques to prevent back pain when working from
home to the
challenges of home schooling, the demand for new knowledge has created an urgent
need for learning, unlearning and relearning to deal with new normalcies. For those
at risk of losing their jobs, reskilling or upskilling is not a choice but a necessity.
Many of us face a steep learning curve in adapting to these new circumstances.
This new learning, while undoubtedly challenging, is, however, critical if we
are to emerge from this crisis into a better future. Continue reading →
Since the start of the pandemic, crisis management in education has focused on children and young people, but adult education is just as critical in times of crisis, argues Daniel Baril
The COVID-19 pandemic is
shaking our societies, and testing our capacity to act, to the limit. Each
major sector of society must contribute, whether through caring for and supporting
those infected, stopping the spread of the virus or ensuring the supply of
essential goods and services to cloistered families. Much is demanded too of the
education sector, especially given governments’ decision to close schools and
other educational establishments.
Ministries of education have
encouraged educational institutions to use online and distance education to
ensure ‘continuity of learning. However, adult education has not yet caught the
attention of governments. Public adult education services are conspicuous by
their absence from the first wave of government decisions, and concern about
continuity of learning for children and young people has not been extended to
adults. Continue reading →
As COVID-19 closes schools, colleges and universities around the world, it is critical that educational solutions, such as online and distance learning, do not widen the digital divide, argues Christiana Nikolitsa-Winter
COVID-19 developments have urgent implications for educational institutions
worldwide, and ask serious and urgent questions of education ministers, leaders,
teachers and learners.
notices go up outside schools and other places of formal and non-formal
education, the challenge we face is how to ensure the continuity of learning
through a period of unprecedented disruption.
We need to
offer learners robust, innovative solutions relatively fast and to create opportunities
for online teaching platforms to reach all, rather than only a small
group of learners. Continue reading →