By CEID Blogger, on 9 July 2020
Podcasting during a Pandemic: How can we Reimagine the Future of the ‘Post-Covid’ University?
This article reflects on conversations about the future of the ‘post-coronial’ university, hosted by the Cambridge Quaranchats Podcast. Fragments of podcast episodes have been integrated into this article. Double-click on the images to hear the audio. You can listen to the full conversations on any major platform, including Spotify, Anchor and Apple Podcasts.
The past academic year has undeniably been one of large-scale disruptions. Of all the things I had imagined my Education MPhil at Cambridge to be, I certainly hadn’t envisioned picket lines, lockdowns and emergency meetings on racism. Due to this unprecedented collision of crises, combined with cancelled fieldwork and a felt need to document the turbulence of this time, I decided to try something new: I started a podcast. From here, my new thesis project emerged, using podcasting as a research method to ask: how do students and academics at Cambridge’s Faculty of Education reimagine the future of the ‘post-coronial’ University?
By CEID Blogger, on 6 July 2020
Reflections on COVID-19 and Education
Changed situations for learning
The epidemic, and the lockdown responses to it, has shifted the ground for great numbers of students. School closures meant a vast number of families suddenly had to do home-schooling and distance education. University closures have driven students online, even more than they were before. With social distancing, peer groups have been disbanded and many of the opportunities for informal learning have gone.
But there’s also more intimate disturbance. Kids have reason to fear. There’s a very dangerous virus loose in the world; old people have the highest death rates, but some young people die too. Grandparents may have gone into self-isolation; hugs may have stopped. In lockdown there seems to be more domestic violence, more strained relationships.
By CEID Blogger, on 3 July 2020
Health or Education? Polarised Risks in the United Kingdom
In contrast to many East Asian nations, such as South Korea and Taiwan, the United Kingdom has failed to learn and apply lessons from the SARS and MERS epidemics of recent decades. There have been some inexcusable mistakes made both prior to and throughout this pandemic, ranging from a lack of Personal Protective Equipment reserves to a continued over-reliance on mathematical modelling, for which the government has already been criticised in previous epidemics. The rallying cry of the government seems to be that we are living through unprecedented times. However, the fact that Prime Minister Boris Johnson was able to speak of the failure to learn lessons in the Commons Liaison Committee shows the entirely predictable nature of our current predicament. Pandemics are a macabre fact of life, and each pandemic will inevitably present different forms and levels of risk to different segments of society. Working through such risks, both at an individual and societal level, involves balancing competing priorities and interests. This in turn creates the imperative for a set of nationally agreed upon ethical principles or values that reflect this balance and in turn inform more nuanced policy decisions.
By CEID Blogger, on 30 June 2020
COVID-19 in Conflict-Affected Southern Thailand: The Political Game to Win People’s Hearts and Minds
By Chawin Pongpajon
During the COVID‑19 pandemic, Thailand has enforced lockdown and social distancing measures across the country under the Emergency Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situation. Although the situation seems to be gradually improving, receiving praise from several countries for its success in coping with the virus, there are still many challenging social issues. The violent conflict in the southern Thailand is one such challenge. This blog aims to report on the ongoing insurgency in what’s known as the “Deep South” during the COVID-19 pandemic by exploring how the Thai state and insurgent groups have operated during the emergency. I draw oninformation shared on Facebook from Thai military’s supporters (assumed to be part of an information operations team), insurgents and various news agencies.
By CEID Blogger, on 26 June 2020
The Rapid Growth of Private Tutoring during the Pandemic: What of Public Education?
The COVID-19 pandemic seems to have reinforced the role of and intensify the dependence upon private providers in education. In the context of a global education emergency, the online tutoring industry no longer supplements or complements mainstream education, but in some instances replaces it to a significant degree. From the very early days of the pandemic, many online education companies have quickly jumped into the process and filled the gap left by mainstream schools. While some of its dimensions have brought swift positive impacts, such a dynamic may further undermine trust in public education and decrease its role in the long run. The risks of unregulated growth of online tutoring and its involvement in students’ daily lives should be identified and observed to better inform parents, scholars and policymakers.
By CEID Blogger, on 25 June 2020
Epistemic In/Justice and COVID-19: Mind the Epistemic Gap
Unequal power relations are part and parcel of global South scholars’ daily experiences. Their work (our work) is based and maintained under structures that limit their ability to generate and disseminate Southern knowledge(s) globally. Many of these structures have colonial legacies. These limitations on our knowledges – what we call epistemic limitations – do not stop us from pursuing our academic careers and fighting our marginalisation, which in many cases our counterparts in the global North (continue to) enforce. In times of pandemic, these inequalities are even more relevant and essential to consider. Our higher education institutions and research agendas are shaped by global North budgets allocated mainly in those institutions that perform the best, according to top-down imposed standards rather than standards or criteria that respond to the needs and perspectives in the global South. Hence, when resources are scarce and impacted by global conditions, such as the current pandemic, our institutions in the global South suffer the most from further marginalisation, and us with them.
By CEID Blogger, on 24 June 2020
COVID-19, Child Labour and Education: Hidden Gender Issues in India
The nationwide lockdown to protect citizens from the spread of COVID-19 has impacted 300 million students in India who were enrolled in 1.4 million schools and 51,000 colleges. At the time of this writing, it is unclear when schools will reopen; a review of the situation has been promised mid-August. Temporary school closures and shifting to ‘online teaching’ affect girls and boys differently. Women have less access to technology in India compared to boys. The absence or limited access to technology and resources also decreases the possibilities of the girls continuing their schooling, particularly girls belonging to low income families, living in remote and rural areas. The incidence will likely lead to an increase in the number of girls dropping out from schools in India. Previous evidence shows that in the situation of a crisis – such as natural disasters or economic upheavals – the incidence of girls dropping out from schools increases.
By CEID Blogger, on 23 June 2020
Bridging, not building, capacity: English language conversations as an exemplar of the need for more equitable and collaborative learning opportunities
For some time now, academics from UCL, who are part of the Future Education team at the RELIEF project, have been working with over 100 teachers and education professionals in Lebanon to co-design a MOOC (Massive Open Online Collaboration) which was launched under the title Transforming Education in Challenging Environments in the summer of 2019. (Read the CEID Blog post about the MOOC!) The process of co-design and development of the MOOC purposefully sought to unsettle and dismantle ideas about the assumed superiority of knowledge that trickles down from academic spaces in the global north and instead to start from the wealth of expertise and knowledges among teachers and educators working in some of the most complex circumstances. UCL academics – along with partners in Lebanon at the Centre for Lebanese Studies (CLS), Jusoor, MAPs and other (I)NGOs worked together to assess the needs of the educationalists in that particular context and co-design online shared learning spaces to respond to their professional development needs. The MOOC attracted over 9,000 educators from across Arabic speaking countries and 2,500 educators from across the world and was followed up with a blended learning summer course for teachers who work in refugee contexts in Lebanon.
By CEID Blogger, on 22 June 2020
COVID-19 Pandemic and its Implications on Education in Ghana
The coronavirus pandemic has activated an exceptional global education emergency from which Ghana has not been spared. All schools in Ghana shut down on March 23, 2020. Statistics on Ghana’s education show that there are approximately 9.7 million (4.7 million females and 5 million males) learners affected by the COVID-19 related school closures. The decision by the Government of Ghana to shut down schools is undoubtedly a good initiative that will save lives. Nevertheless, shutting down schools raises challenging questions.
How is COVID-19 affecting learning in Ghana?
By CEID Blogger, on 17 June 2020
Transitioning to Online Education in Tajikistan: A Quarantine Story
Tajikistan, a low-income country in Central Asia, has been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and has struggled to organize what few resources it has. This, I experienced first-hand in my role as Regional Education Programme Manager for the Aga Khan Education Services in Central Asia.
When COVID-19 hit Central Asia, we at the Aga Khan Education Services (AKES) managed to get our schools online. On launching our online learning and student support system in Kyrgyzstan, our team crossed the border into Tajikistan with the intention of doing the same there. Within 4 hours of arriving in Tajikistan, however, all borders closed, and lockdown ensued. We were stuck.
Tajikistan’s public education was arguably struggling before COVID-19. For years, a stagnant economy has hindered efforts to expand services and boost learning outcomes. Despite increasing education sector spending as a portion of Gross Domestic Product, a recent economic downturn has resulted in smaller annual budgets in absolute terms year on year. The country has also relied more heavily on remittances than any other country except the Philippines.