Marking World Teachers’ Day (October 5) amid the COVID-19 pandemic this year has different as one sector that continues to benefit from the crisis is online education. The current situation has significantly changed the online education business which is likely to set the way knowledge is going to be imparted in the future.
According to Unesco, World Teachers’ Day celebrations in 2020 were held under the theme ‘Teachers: Leading in crisis, re-imagining the future’.
‘The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly added to the challenges faced by already over-extended education systems throughout the world. It is no exaggeration to say that the world is at a crossroads and, now more than ever, we must work with teachers to protect the right to education and guide it into the unfolding landscape brought about by the pandemic,’ Unesco said.
‘In this crisis, teachers have shown, as they have done so often, great leadership and innovation in ensuring that #LearningNeverStops, that no learner is left behind. Around the world, they have worked individually and collectively to find solutions and create new learning environments for their students to allow education to continue. Their role advising on school reopening plans and supporting students with the return to school is just as important,’ stated a joint statement from Unesco, ILO, Unicef and Education International.
According to education experts and parents in Oman, educating children in the ‘new normal’ has brought about new realities, including teacher training.
H E Dr Abdullah bin Khamis bin Ali Ambusaidi, Undersecretary in the Ministry of Education, said all teaching staff will be trained ahead of the school year.
“There will be a training programme for teachers and support groups on how to use e-learning platforms and deal with distance learning,” he said.
“Education will be blended, which is a mixture of traditional education and distance learning, and it will help reduce direct contact between students and the teacher,” H E Dr Ambusaidi added.
For parents, this will mean investment in computers and laptops for their children.
The parents Muscat Daily spoke with have already started getting ready with laptops and Internet connection.
“As we know that there would be both school attendance and online education, we as parents have to be ready. I have already invested in a new laptop which my children will use. What I have to do now is apply for a WiFi connection. COVID-19 has made us more tech savvy now and this means more expenses. However, this is good for our children,” said Sulaiman Mohammad, father of four children from Seeb.
Blended education will also mean more work for parents.
“Giving our children access to Internet and laptops will require us to monitor them. We do not want them to indulge in other things other than education. So, we have to be alert when they are online. The new way of education is not only changing children but parents too,” said Sawsan al Ajmi, mother of four.
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