COVID-19 and the Education Gap
Written by: Tanya Singh
An education gap is when you study the relative performance of an individual student and analyze the gap between what they are learning and what they are expected to learn at their age. Such education gaps can be caused and affected by a number of factors, including learning disabilities, financial status, and the individual.
During this uncertain time of 2020 where we are experiencing a global pandemic, many students are finding themselves in an altered environment of schooling; whether that be online learning from home or distance learning at school.
While academic achievement gaps already exist on such a large scale between students of different income households, these gaps are only broadening due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people, whether they have a low-income, are homeless, or jobless are most likely going to be unable to afford things vital to online learning, such as laptops, the internet, etc. Many schools are also unable to provide these to students, which puts these students who are already at a disadvantage compared to others, even lower in the education gap.
Many students, understandably, are just unable to properly learn and comprehend information through the online learning format. Each individual person has their own learning style, and oftentimes online learning not only clashes with those but also invites additional predicaments. For example, kinesthetic learners like to learn with their hands was planning to learn anatomy using skeletons, but now has to stare at it on a screen.
Online learning itself comes with many bugs, such as internet and device issues, and can lead to students being unable to understand their teachers and unable to participate in class.
These different situations lead to the education gaps increasing for students, putting them at a larger disadvantage for when this pandemic hopefully dies down. As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, and schools remain closed for many kids, the question remains: What can we do, as a society, to fix this gap? “What then should we do to fix this gap?” you might ask.
The answer is, it's complicated. Going back to school and having everything return back to normal only puts students and others at risk of getting COVID-19. The truth is, there is no practical situation that would completely fix everything that is happening. However, our schools and government need to come together to be able to provide students with the education they deserve and ensure that they are actually receiving their benefits.