Universities and schools should be reopened while maintaining proper precautions says FOT and FHSS researchers

The impact of coronavirus has created the most significant collapse of global education in history. The closure of schools and other learning institutes has impacted the vast majority of the students, especially in low and lower-middle-income countries like Sri Lanka.

“Universities and schools should be reopened while maintaining proper precautions to avoid being a victim of the pandemic,” said  Dr. Udara Arachchige; Department of Civil and Environmental Technology, Faculty of Technology, USJ based on their questioner research among 2000 school and university students during April 2021. This research was published in International Journal of Multidisciplinary Research and Publications in 2021.

The research was carried out by Dr. Udara Arachchige; Department of Civil and Environmental Technology, Faculty of Technology, USJ, Mr. K.L.Thisara Sathsara; Department of Geography, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, USJ, Ms. Probodhi Preethika; Mr. K.A. Viraj Miyuranga; Mr. R.K.M.D Supun Harshana; Mr. M.B.D.K Siriwardena; Mr. Chiran D.M.O. Ranaraja; Miss. D. K. Dissanayaka; Department of Civil and Environmental Technology, Faculty of Technology, USJ and Miss. S.A.P.U.M Jayathilake; Department of English, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, USJ.

Dr. Udara said, reopening universities and schools should be taken to manage several steps while maintaining proper precautions to avoid being a victim of the pandemic.

  • Revising personal and attendance policies for universities, higher educational institutes or for the schools should be considered as home schooling completely proved that maintaining attendance for lectures is useless.
  • Redesigning of lecture rooms should be taken into account with the online facilities for anyone to join even for the people not willing to attend physically.
  • The financial allocations for the educational sector should be carefully handled as spending on education may be compromised in the coming years. The main reason will be public funds are directed for health and social welfare and minimized from the long-term public spending on education.
  •  The required technological support at the school level or university level should be considered for the institution as well as for the individual students.
  •  The lockdown has exacerbated inequality among students as distance learning for those with lower level of income families creates additional stress. Therefore, not just for the students from those low-income families, their family members economic stability should be carefully analyzed as many of them may lose their regular jobs.
  • It should be immediately improving the availability of proper technology for the students who need special care as most of the technological tools are developed for normal students.
  • Schools and universities should maintain a technology bank where students can lend technological tools to use during the pandemic when they are not the one on it or not having the financial stability to purchase it.
  • At most, parents should need to have the proper training to support their children for homeschooling during the pandemic.
  • There should be a proper communication system to maintain among parents, teachers and students to deliver the most important information regarding continuation of their education.

The link between students and teachers is vital for their personal development to face society outside the walls. Students will eventually know how to listen to others, how to respect each other, and how to manage co-working, group working activities only during schooling time. Many of those qualities are not mentioned in the book chapters to learn at home. Those will be learnt only with the physical interaction of each other. Therefore, in the end, this will create unskillful graduates who doesn’t fit for the economic development of the country. Now it is time to implement the most important principles such as learning to know, learning to do, learning to be, and to live together with it.

Read the full Article (PDF) : Immediate Actions to Minimize the Impact of Covid – 19 on Education

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