How can education institutions address challenges brought by COVID-19?

As is the case for many parts of our environment COVID-19 also has major impacts on global higher education institutions since they had to shut down a few months ago. Spanish Universities were closed on March 14th and the national state of emergency was extended to May 2021 for now. The back and forth in terms of COVID-19 waves in Spain has led to an uncertain situation in which the government imposes and lifts restrictions at short notice that affect Spanish educational institutions. 

The priority for all schools is to ensure the health and safety of their students and staff. While most institutions have taken different actions to continue teaching on a virtual basis. But what comes next?

Throughout the past 2020 and so far in 2021, the various mobility restrictions that countries have imposed have had and will continue to have a major impact on students studying abroad, especially in popular destinations such as the United States, United Kingdom, Australia or Canada.

Consequently, the actions, institutions are taking today, will determine if the respective schools will survive this during these uncertain times, as there will be a shortage of students who sign up for universities far from their home countries.

On the other hand, the way we deal with this global challenge now has revealed new approaches regarding teachingbusiness, and society.

What can higher education institutions do today to address the challenges brought by COVID-19?

What can higher education institutions do today to address the challenges brought by COVID-19?

At LEAP, we have seen different approaches in education:

  • Educating students on health guidelines and social distancing;
  • Combination of online with on-campus learning. Start online, continue on-campus;
  • Discounts on study programs; Introduction of program refund policies;
  • Loosening admission policies (e.g. IB/IGCSE/National High School exams were postponed this year);
  • Conditional admission;
  • Extending deadlines.

EAIE conducted a survey recently and listed some of the actions that institutions around the world have implemented in the last couple of months:

  • Communicate with your students, on-campus and abroad. Be understanding and supporting, provide guidance;
  • Establish policies regarding cancelled abroad programs and provide guidance regarding travel restrictions;
  • Provide guidance regarding health insurance coverage;
  • Offer support to access financial funds where possible;
  • Communicate with your partners and strengthen the relationship. this provides great opportunities to plan common webinars, virtual classrooms, SM campaigns, etc.
  • Keep your followers and community updated on guidelines provided by your institutions, the WHO and the government.

Bottom line is, whilst facing this global crisis, we must realize that the world will keep spinning and the next fall semester is approaching soon.

Although these are difficult and challenging times, higher education institutions have to plan ahead and secure their existence, workplaces, and incoming students.

On the other hand, students have to keep planning their future – online courses are a good starting option until the situation goes back to normal. Now is a good time to evaluate study options, institutions and start the application process.

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