Could Remote Education Be Here to Stay?

As we round out 2020 and head into the new year, it’s becoming more clear that there will be little change to the new remote lifestyle that we’ve become used to over the past nine months – some countries such as the UK have already issued a new lockdown for the New Year due to the ongoing pandemic with the closure of schools until March – but what could this mean for education institutes? It’s clear at least that remote working is likely to stick around as many find the growing benefits that come from the remote working lifestyle, and as a growing number of people follow guides at to gain more freedom with their remote working change it’s clear to see the success, but education doesn’t have many of the same allowances.

Higher education institutions like universities will be the most likely to see a more permanent shift – some have already announced that many of their classes will remain online throughout 2021 and being readdressed for 2022 depending on the current state of the ongoing pandemic – but there are also suggestions that many classes may find a more permanent shift toward online learning where possible as some students have found that it fits their preferred method of learning. It does bring up some questions around the cost of university however, as there have been disagreements with charging full price for a semester in which no classes are physically attended – this may be addressed throughout 2021, or may be something that is addressed later on if there’s a more permanent change, but is certainly an important factor to consider.

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Other education institutions for lower education will be unlikely to change in the long term, but may be forced to in the short term – dealing with issues such as some students not having access to materials or hardware needed for online learning will be the biggest hurdle to overcome in the short term and has been something that has caused an issue throughout the past year, but also the formative years of education don’t give their best results through an online setting through research in the field. Given disruptions to the school year and possible future disruptions though, some compromise may need to be found for things like exams, where an online alternative may need to be adopted for safety and to ensure students feel comfortable wherever possible.

There’s still a lot of uncertainty, with news of the vaccines starting widespread rollout it could lead to change by the end of the year but widespread vaccination will take time, and the virus remains a very real threat – education has a whole still has a long way to go before things settle back in to a normal routine, and more long term thinking may be needed at all levels of education.

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