Thursday, April 2, 2020, the Rector of SNSPA, Remus Pricopie, former Minister of Education and Research, participated in an online workshop with international experts in the field of education, to discuss and identify answers to the challenges facing global education during the crisis generated by the new coronavirus.
The discussion, hosted by Esteban Bullrich, Senator, former Minister of Education in Argentina, and Vikas Pota, Founder and CEO of Mission Education, UK, focused on how states ensure a coherent and quality education process, in the conditions which closed schools affect more than 1.3 billion students worldwide.
The group of experts consists of current and former ministers of education from South Africa, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, Greece, New Zealand, Russia, Paraguay, Romania, representatives of international organizations such as the World Bank or OECD, managers of some multinational companies from Great Britain, the USA, Brazil, Turkey, South Africa, Switzerland, Denmark.
In the field of education, however necessary and effective, measures taken to combat the spread of the new coronavirus have exacerbated existing inequities. The first issue discussed at the meeting is that limited access to education for children from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds will have long-term effects.
Another problem is that this crisis shows how inflexible and unadapted to new technologies are the education systems in some states. At the same time, there are large differences between countries, even within them, between different regions or between urban and rural areas, in terms of digital literacy and access to digital resources. There is a need to outline long-term solutions to ensure the necessary resources for learners at home and to avoid dropping out of school, especially where distance learning programs and platforms cannot be implemented. “Certainly, the near future will bring major changes in the way the education process is viewed, which will lead to legislative changes and profound reforms, so that the digital component of the learning process becomes a constant and not an option. “, said Remus Pricopie, Rector of SNSPA.
As this crisis continues, states need to assess the negative effects of keeping schools closed, especially for the most vulnerable. The goal should be to help students learn and stay safe. It is essential to consider what can be done now and in the future because education systems need to ensure that the most vulnerable are not left behind.
During this videoconference, professor Remus Pricopie stressed not only the need to invest in digital educational infrastructure, but also the need to recognize the role of the teacher in the learning process, whether we are talking about classical learning, in school, or guiding the education process in the virtual environment. “The crisis proves, once again, that education cannot be done without an architect of the learning process, at the level of each class, and this architect is not the minister of education, he is not the mayor, who is responsible for the school infrastructure, he is not the inspector schoolboy, is not the principal of the school, but the professor, who, with dedication and professionalism, fuels the curiosity of each student and helps him progress, even in conditions of social isolation, caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, any investment in professors is an investment in our children and in the future of the country.”, said the rector of SNSPA.
The current crisis puts us in a position to assess the limits and vulnerabilities of current education systems in the world. To ensure basic education and key competencies, especially for children from vulnerable backgrounds, world governments will be required to invest more in new pedagogical methods, teacher training and provide free access to digital educational resources for students, including from the perspective of connectivity.