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How do students experience the coronavirus crisis?

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A study by the Student Front denounces the deficiencies of the State’s educational model and the increase in social inequalities that the crisis management will entail. The study is based on a survey to which more than 2,500 ESO, high school, FP and university students have responded.

The students from different countries agree to maintain the confinement measures that the State Government has decreed, but they warn that this fact does not oblige them to “compromise with the consequences of the educational gap, unequal opportunities or segregation.” It is clear that they do not want to silence or swallow their vision of what is happening, or how it affects them.

The closing of the educational centers around the world has meant the transfer of the exercise of teaching from the classroom to the computer just like e-Magine’s virtual workshops: today virtual teaching is the only possible modality, until the return to the classroom occurs; and this date is still completely uncertain. Here are some of the conclusions they have reached.

The children of the working classes are the most affected

Throughout the period of confinement, it has been possible to verify how the working class, which is socially necessary to save the whole of the citizenry: who works in hospitals disinfecting and curing, who operates supermarkets and the rest of the necessary areas of the economy. However, it is the sector most affected by the crisis.

A first example of this is the digital divide, since telematic education is only viable when the necessary equipment is available, something that is not guaranteed today. In fact, the students assure that there are many families that do not have computers so that their children can keep up with the academic rhythm. For this reason, telematic education “deepens class inequality in the educational system and worsens the conditions of those who have the least.”

To all this we must add that, although the students have the necessary means to follow the classes electronically, the distance from the school as a space for student development and the greater presence of the family environment makes it difficult for students to connect with the school. . If before the closing of the classrooms it was analyzed that the lack of resources in the centers made it difficult to serve the most vulnerable students, now this demand must be much greater.

In its study, the Student Front warns that the problem of dropping out of school at the moment is getting worse. The number of students who were at risk before the closing of the classrooms, today are closer to being expelled, by force of events, from an educational system “incapable of individually addressing and orienting needs and enhancing capacities of each student «.

Is virtual teaching being properly managed?

In general, the study by the Front affirms that the vast majority of classes are not given by videoconference. So how is teaching being replaced? In a large part of centers and also at educational levels, it works with the use of educational platforms such as Moodle or other similar ones. This new way of teaching class has generated many problems, such as those mentioned below:

  • Chaos in education . The first is the direct responsibility of the educational Administration, and it is because there are no precise and coordinating instructions in most schools; what makes the weight and the responsibility falls on the teachers. This lack of coordination has also involved the use of very diverse tools to teach classes: email, different platforms, social networks …
  • Academic overload . The second problem, linked to lack of coordination, is the excessive academic burden that students suffer. Only 19% of the respondents say that there is an adequacy of their time regarding the academic load.
  • Loss of academic quality . The lack of means and training to manage telematic teaching, the difficult access to training materials, the greater weight of the social and family difficulties of the students, together with other factors, mean a greater weight of the student’s self-learning capacity. This situation makes evident the need to release educational materials and knowledge, so that it is in the public domain.
  • Increased stress and anxiety . All these saturation situations become more serious if we place them in context. Stress and anxiety, which are already problematic for many students, are compounded by the same confinement situation.
  • Educational privatization . The Student Front considers it essential to point out that, as telematic teaching is proposed, it means opening the doors to one more form of educational privatization: the vast majority of online teaching platforms belong to private companies.
  • Educational uncertainty . The word that best defines the feeling of the educational community as a whole at this time, and in a specific way of the students, is uncertainty: 74.28% of those surveyed say they are not satisfied with the information received and 20% say not knowing which evaluation method will be applied, a percentage that in secondary and FP reaches 40%.

The main conclusion reached by the report is that face-to-face teaching is not substitutable in any case , just as neither is the school: there is no formula in which virtual teaching can assure the degree of quality of face-to-face teaching . The figure of the teacher is essential and we must vindicate the importance of the school as «a space for the development of all students, collective education oriented to the satisfaction of the needs of society as a whole -and not to that of a few entrepreneurs- that, in turn, allows the full and individualized growth of the student ».

The Student Front ends its study by mentioning the “need for a direct and real exchange of educational institutions with students.” He also states that the objective of the study is to be an “open window to the reality of the majority of the students in our country.”

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