Jonathan Osler Explains how Covid is Affecting the Education System
Jonathan Osler is a passionate educator, communicator, entrepreneur, researcher, policy advocate, and parent. He has more than 20 years of experience in the education sector, advocating for educational equity and fighting social injustices. Over the years, Osler has been involved in numerous projects that promote philanthropic institutions, nonprofits, and communities. His work stems from his passion for collaborations between educators, local communities, and non-governmental organizations.
He is the brain behind numerous groundbreaking initiatives, such as #OaklandUndivided, which helped close the digital divide for more than 25000 Oakland families. Since he began his philanthropic work, Osler has raised more than $70 million and channeled it into different educational initiatives. Moreover, he has fundraised over $2.5 million in Covid Relief Fund that sought to support Oakland students and schools. He is a highly effective communicator and successfully engages diverse audiences via research projects, facilitation, visual design, writing, and public speaking. He is also a proud father of two girls and a caring husband to an immigrant rights lawyer, pasta maker, a former hip hop magazine publisher, an upcoming rock climber, a heavy coffee drinker, an undergraduate STEM tutor, and a proud Oaklander.
How Covid is Affecting the Education System
According to him, the outbreak of Covid-19 greatly affected the education system and made it hard for many learners to access education. As an educator, teacher, and father who holds education close to his heart, he continues to investigate the impacts of the pandemic on education systems across the globe.
So, how has coronavirus affected the education system? Let’s find out through the lens of Jonathan Osler.
- Covid-19 has widened the opportunity gap for students. Before the pandemic hit, there was a consensus among education stakeholders that economic inequality had resulted in learning gaps for students from high-income and low-income families. The pandemic has further widened the gap with the new education system leaving behind many students from low-income families. While upper and middle-class families have quickly switched to online learning, many low-income families cannot afford a stable internet connection and computers necessary for online learning. The differences in learning opportunities can be seen in the test scores, as those from rich families are likely to score higher than those from poorer families.
- The pandemic has disrupted the development of students. Students require a support system for them to thrive. Since Covid-19 hit the country, many students have been grounded in their homes without interacting physically with their peers. Psychologists acknowledge that students learn best when learning with their peers. Unfortunately, remote learning forced learners to attend classes from the comfort of their homes, causing many of them to be lonely. The result has been mental and emotional stress that can hamper their success in education.
- It has impeded learning and teaching: The pandemic has forced drastic changes upon the education system, resulting in many students being forced to learn remotely. Additionally, many teachers are finding it difficult to connect with their students due to inconsistencies in access to computers and internet connections. This has hugely resulted in poor training, which has seen the education output dwindle in the past two years.
- Remote learning has not been effective for many students due to insufficient resources. Studies have shown that homeschooling students who succeed have access to adequate learning materials. The remote learning that the pandemic has necessitated led to a lot of pressure on education systems. Since the change from physical learning to online learning was not well planned, students have not fully benefited from the system.
- The pandemic has significantly reduced the time students spend learning. Before the pandemic hit, students spent almost seven hours daily in school interacting with teachers and fellow students in the school environment. This significantly increased the amount of time available to them to learn. Since the coronavirus outbreak, however, there has been a time shortage. Moreover, remote learning has reduced learning time as chronic absenteeism is on the rise. The physical distance between teachers and students has resulted in disengaged learners who are not spending more time away from their books.