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significant shift in industrial methods needs a rethinking of the educational system. With its emphasis on memorisation and standardisation, our educational system falls short of fulfilling the demands of the fourth industrial revolution.

Online education is crucial to the advancement of technology and customer preferences. Many universities’ long-term existence will depend on hybrid learning and online programmes. Students will gravitate toward and enroll in universities that provide online education with flexible schedule possibilities. A variety of countries have already incorporated alternative technology into their classrooms, such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence and virtual reality-based learning. The notion of “blended learning” is gaining traction in many parts of the world.

The Covid-19 outbreak sparked public health and economic issues worldwide, showing our interconnectedness and interdependence. The governments halted economic activities to keep people away from contracting or spreading the Covid-19.

Education and public health are essential components of every country’s economy; these human capital characteristics increase individual productivity and prosperity in any society. Personal and national wellbeing can be impacted by their population’s educational attainment and access to healthcare. Adopting new educational models contributes to the economic growth and development by enhancing people’s ability to earn more and attain socioeconomic wellbeing, resulting in a healthier and happier society.

Change is happening faster than ever before during the Covid-19; all political, social, economic, and corporate stakeholders seek to adapt to the Covid-19 to survive the public health and financial crises. Educational institutions must quickly adjust to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, a significant number of them were already planning and preparing their systems and present models to provide an appropriate education for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which necessitates a shift to online education, with over 60 per cent of the learning expected to occur online by 2022.

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Schools, colleges and universities have been compelled to migrate from onsite to online delivery, offering new issues in terms of access, technology, training, digital resources and evaluation, as well as a sea change in workplace culture.

Students, educators, and staff interact with various digital devices such as cell phones, tablets, laptop computers, and personal computers. Access restrictions limit access to those having an internet connection and a digital device capable of connecting in both asynchronous and synchronous modes, resulting in a digital divide between those with and without the access to technology.

This digital divide will worsen the world’s current social, economic, and political differences, making them even more inequitable and unsustainable. Collaborations between the public and commercial sectors can assist overcome this barrier by providing all students with free internet access and digital instructional devices.

To provide an online education in synchronous and asynchronous modes, educational institutions must have a learning management system (LMS), a content management system (CMS), and a conferencing technology such as Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Zoom, or another comparable tool. Publish each course to the CMS and the curriculum, lesson plans, assignments, activities, quizzes and projects to the LMS. Many public colleges are missing a learning management system, an asynchronous learning content management system and an asynchronous learning conferencing tool.

Provide technical support to students, instructors and staff and educate teachers to conduct online education. Many educational institutions are responsible for educating instructors and workers and populating the CMS with the course content, lesson plans comprising instructional materials, assignments, activities, quizzes, and projects.

Traditional libraries are inaccessible, prompting the development of digital libraries to provide instructional resources to students and teachers. There are plenty of free educational materials available online, but the membership in a complete digital library is expensive. Higher Education Commission gives access to various digital libraries and membership in the HEC digital library.

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Assessment

The Covid-19 pandemic restricts the traditional examination setting for summative evaluation by having students convene under one roof to validate their identities and ensure they are not cheating on the test. Online summative assessment software and services for proctored examinations are available. Still, they require infrastructure support in bandwidth and digital communication devices with a webcam. The traditional assessment technique, which relied on 70 per cent summative and 30 per cent formative evaluation, is being phased out, favouring the performance-based and formative assessment.

The online test allows for the formative assessment through facilitator comments and summative assessment. Through group projects, individualised assignments and motivating students to use all available resources rather than restricting them.

 

Changes in the workplace and workplace culture

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Online learning from anywhere and anytime has a significant impact on the workplace and workplace culture of students, teachers, and staff. They will need counselling and support, as their transition from onsite to online delivery, including unlearning old learning modalities and relearning new ones.

To resolve the public health and economic challenges, a diverse group of stakeholders, including government agencies, educators, publishers and producers, technology donors and telecommunication providers, has teamed together. Confederations and learning alliances have become more visible in recent weeks; nations are focusing on the continuation of learning throughout this global health crisis, providing a variety of approaches and modules and technological advancements for online education programmes.

China offers low-income students with tablets and PCs and subsidies for mobile data bundles. In France, hardcopy assignments are given to the 5 per cent of students who do not have access to the internet. The UAE government has developed a hotline service for instructors and students experiencing connectivity issues to mitigate disruption. Over 60 educational institutions, media organisers, publishers and entertainment experts in Hong Kong access over 900 instructional resources, including books, videos, evaluation and assessment tools and free counselling services.

“The world is evolving at a fast pace,” says futurist Thomas Frey, founder and director of DaVinci Institute, “and education will look drastically different in ten years. We are in the middle of a huge shift, even though it does not appear to be so”.

To guarantee that all children have access to high quality education and the chance to continue learning throughout their lives, we must invest in digital infrastructure, enhance global cooperation and build public-private partnerships. Public health and economic crises; academics must adapt or die since change is not voluntary.

Today, education aims at equipping learners to act as change agents to develop a sustainable environment and ensure people’s health and wellbeing, as well as the health and wellbeing of all other species. We can achieve common understanding via cooperation and collaboration, preventing environmental calamities and developing technology for the benefit of the society.

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(The writer is a freelance journalist and educationist)

 

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