It oddly feels as if we were experiencing history books through VR glasses. We are living a pandemic, conflicts between the east and west, wars in different countries and regions around the globe, and many other events that have scattered our priorities away. but in re-ordering them rise opportunities and amidst that momentum our outlook of life changes and a new chapter of history begins.
The crisis we are going through has elucidated to us the flaws in our inelastic system. And the need to change has risen to a level of which we need to act and act quickly. And it made us more vulnerable to the implementation of technology, that we have been resisting for years, in different aspects of our lives.
Things as bureaucratic procedures being done seamlessly with a click of a button, working from home policies that could have been applied years ago but companies kept saying it can’t, and finally taking education online to avoid overcrowded schools and universities, and to make it more accessible to people in rural communities.
All those things would have made our lives a little bit better; minimizing the stress we endure every day and would have saved us an inordinate amount of time. But whenever the topic was brought to the table there has always been resistance.
Now the need to change is stronger than ever before and resisting change is either life-threatening or economic-threatening, both can’t be taken for an answer.
Change must happen and we must praise it.
As we are about to write the next chapter of history, we ought to make sure that education is a key player and write down that 2020, despite all the catastrophic events, was a breakthrough year for education. We were given an opportunity to make it happen by shifting to online education. If the shift is done right, it will have extremely positive effects. So, let’s outline a few:
1. Getting back on the development track.
Online education has been there for a while, a lot of universities have well-established online degree programs. Although they are still in primary stages, sooner or later it will reach maturity and become the new norm. developing an online model and building new infrastructure at such an early stage will help coop up with the world and get back on the development track we have Deviate from a long time ago.
2. Reaching rural communities broadly.
Internet and online education grant us the freedom to learn wherever we were. People in rural communities no longer need to commute for hours to get to and from school. And with the flexibility that comes with it, online education can be a solution to dropping out. and by investing in internet infrastructure, we will all have equal learning opportunities; people from villages will have the same quality of education as the people in cities, resulting in a more educated population.
3. Preparing education for the IoT.
The future is driven by the internet. Computers will have the ability to learn by itself; helping us solve the challenges we face. And the future of education is no different; where computers will be our teaching assistant, learning about student learning habits, providing insight on how we can improve the learning process, giving instantaneous feedback to students, teachers, and parents, and simulating experiments that student would have never been able to see by any mean possible. We need to prepare for such future and shifting to an online model where data (the main driver of the IoT technologies) is collected and stored is the first step.
4. Increasing quality by creating competition
The scarcity of resources and the limited number of seats have taken away our freedom of choice. We don’t choose our school or university, which made them unheedful of improving. But with online programs, we no longer need to worry about the number of seats and the scarcity of resources which will lead to freedom of choice where we students can choose what to study and at which university. This will create a kind of competition that would push decision-makers to heed for improvement.
5. Ending the stigma of online education
Believe it or not, there’s a stigma against online education, people (especially boomers and gen x) think that people with an online degree are less qualified than people with a traditional degree. given the fact that most students have to get their family approval for financial support, they tend not to acknowledge online programs. But now, with Egypt’s most prestigious universities turning online, the stigma can be broken. and students will have the freedom to choose an international online program without community resistance.
In a post ideal version of Egypt that could be something. however, what is more, likely to happen is a carbon copy of the traditional system but online. and if it happens to be the case, we should at least work together to break the stigma against online education.
Online education is our only alternative to a shabby educational system. We shouldn’t let that opportunity fly away. but if we took the wrong path, we might end up with something worse than the traditional education. and then people would discard online education forever.