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COVID-19 pandemic accelerates education transformation: International education seminar

Despite the high attrition of teachers and lack of an education policy amongst a myriad of shortcomings in the education sector, educationists say that the COVID-19 pandemic has propelled the country’s education system into the future by two decades in terms of technology use. This is according to participants of a recent education seminar in Paro. They said in just a few months, the pandemic brought about years of change in the use of technology like online learning, Google Classroom and television to continue education remotely.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the education system globally, causing disruption in learning and forcing schools to close. Students found themselves confined to their homes, isolated from their friends and unable to attend traditional classroom teaching.

Initially unprepared for emergencies such as school closure and disruption, Bhutan gradually adapted to the situation. According to Dorji Thinley, the president of the Paro College of Education, the rapid adoption of technology during the pandemic has significantly enhanced the understanding of its role in improving education.

“I think COVID took us, as the Goldman Sachs article rightly said, about 20 years into the future in just a few weeks, in terms of our ability to understand the role of technology for improving education.”

The seminar, the second of its kind hosted by the Paro College of Education since 2012, focused on the theme of Transformative Education Post-COVID-19 Pandemic: From self-healing to social transformation.

“During COVID-19 especially the education system was disturbed. Our children had to undergo something that they have never done in the past. That way, there were some really strong negative impacts. So, this is one of the reasons why we have kept this transforming from self-healing to social transformation, which mainly talks about how we have to be mindful that will ultimately lead to some sort of transformation in the society at the larger system,” said Kezang Sherab (PhD), Dean of Research and Industrial Linkages, Paro College of Education.

The seminar provided a platform for participants to share their learnings. The event brought together over 60 international educationists and researchers from 17 countries, along with more than 35 local educationists and researchers.

Namgay Wangchuk, Paro

Edited by Sonam Pem