The sudden outbreak of the deadly pandemic Covid-19 has forced the existing education systems around the world to now rely on digital means to teach and communicate with the students.
The Educational Testing Service (ETS) has recently announced that The Test of English as a Foreign Language aka TOEFL and Graduate Record Examinations aka GRE which are two of the most crucial exams to get into the best universities across the world are now going to be undertaken by students from their homes excluding just mainland China and Iran.
Srikant Gopal who is the Executive Director of the TOEFL Program in a statement mentioned that for both TOEFL and GRE test takers ‘at home’ solutions will be made available because the tests cannot be undertaken in centres as long as the current situation persists.
“Precautions are being taken to ensure that the tests students will take from home meet the highest standards for validity, reliability and security. These tests employ multiple best-in-class security measures that use both real-time human monitoring and artificial intelligence technology,” he added.
There have been multiple announcements of suspending attendance at schools and universities in the past two weeks as countries have taken swift decisive actions to stop the Covid-19 spread in the light of the outbreak moving with an increased momentum across Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and the United States.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development or OECD has estimated that the Covid-19 has led to a whopping 421 million students getting affected due to school and university closures that have been announced or implemented in 39 countries. In addition to this, another 22 countries which include India have announced partial localized closures as well.
Covid-19 To Redefine The Education System?
With the centuries-old lecture-based approach to teaching, entrenched institutional biases and outmoded classrooms, the slow pace of change in academic institutions has been often criticised and lamented over globally. However, now the COVID-19 has become a catalyst for educational institutions worldwide to search for innovative solutions in a relatively short period of time.
Surely the rapid changes coming to play because of the outbreak is causing a lot of inconveniences but interestingly these changes have also prompted the beginning of the early stages of educational innovation.
It is still too early to confidently predict how the outbreak will affect the education systems globally, but several signs suggest that it could have a lasting impact on the entire trajectory of learning innovation and digitization.
Students in Hong Kong have now started to learn at home via interactive apps. In China, 120 million students are accessing learning material through live television broadcasts. In India edtech platforms like Byju’s, Toppr and Lido Learning observed a huge spike in user engagement and enquiries amid this outbreak.
With the now increased availability of faster and reliable internet connectivity across the world, we are more likely to see students truly embracing the ‘learning anywhere, anytime’ motto of digital education in a wide range of formats. Learning could finally become a true lifestyle, a habit that is integrated into daily routines.