Recovering and Revitalizing Education for the COVID-19 Generation22-January-2021
The third International Day of Education on 24 January 2021 will be marked under the theme ‘Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation’.
This event occurs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that led to global learning disruption of unprecedented scale and severity. The closure of schools, colleges, universities, and other providers has left a huge hole in our capacity to provide education and social engagement on an epic scale. According to UNESCO the lives of 1.6 billion students have been affected in over 190 countries worldwide.
As the new year begins, there is a critical need for collaboration and progressive development in our digital infrastructure to reach out to people who are facing many challenges and barriers to engagement.
It is clear from our own experiences as an organisation, and daily media coverage that much more is expected from home-schooling arrangements than before. For instance, many of our staff are grappling with the pressures of work and educating their children, as well as other caring responsibilities. There is no doubt that this is happening the world over, and there are so many demands on time that something has to give, and regrettably for some families education may be severely hampered, especially when barriers such as digital exclusion and poverty are factors. As UNESCO highlights, Governments have moved swiftly to offer alternative solutions, but at least one third of the world’s students have not been able to access remote learning, while it is estimated that those in low-and lower-middle-income countries have lost nearly four months of schooling compared to six weeks in high income ones.
International Day of Education Capturing the spirit of the International Day of Education, UNESCO and partners have spearheaded the Learning Planet Festival to celebrate learning in all contexts and share innovations that fulfil the potential of every learner, no matter what their circumstances. With key aims to find recovery solutions, increase inclusion and combat drop out, as well as highlighting best practices, it provides for a strong platform to sharpen the voices of the COVID-19 generation who face a future of economic recession and climate change.
Our role as a lead adult educator in Wales is to ensure that these challenges continue to be at the forefront of our minds and integrated into our strategic priorities.
We have already exceeded 5000 enrolments this academic year, and successfully engaged our students in over 5000 learning activities which have been delivered primarily online and most of which has been accredited provision leading to the development of skills, particularly literacy, numeracy, digital skills together with English Language skills of speakers of other languages. A remarkable achievement given that remote learning did not feature in our offer before March 2020.
Part of our recovery is the investment in our educators.
. . .and their willingness and commitment to dedicate their time to finding new and innovative ways to develop teaching methods in a time like no other.
We see this as an opportunity for progressive change which will enhance education in Wales, and wholeheartedly support the aims of the International Day of Education and all it sets out to achieve.
Kathryn Robson, Chief Executive
Addysg Oedolion Cymru | Adult Learning Wales