With the emergence of the pandemic coronavirus and the spread of Covid-19 throughout 2020, many people who work in the service sector have been forced to work from home rather than commuting to offices. The social and economic impact of such measures, put in place to help restrict the spread of this disease, are yet to be fully understood.
Writing in the International Journal of Social and Humanistic Computing, a team from India describes the impact on the education “industry” of the work-from-home rules that have been put in place in many parts of the world. Rajwinder Kaur and Gagandeep Kaur of the University School of Business at Chandigarh University in Ghruan, Mohali, Punjab, suggest that there have been pros as well as cons for higher education in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The researchers suggest at among the benefits are a reduction in office distractions and office politics for those in the education industry. There are also the benefits of essentially zero commuting time and the ability to schedule work more efficiently. Of course, such benefits have been well-known for many years among those who previously worked from home. Conversely, the delivery of lectures, tutorials, and assessment via online tools while also having benefits means that students are missing out on direct contact and conversation with their educators. There are many barriers to having students take examinations throughout and at the end of a course because of physical (also known as social) distancing measures.
This is the first time that educators have been forced to handle their students in this way and they are only now beginning to face the challenges and recognise some of the benefits. Whether or not we see an end to the Covid-19 pandemic is a moot point, but the “new-normal” must take education into account to ensure a positive future for learners.
Kaur, R. and Kaur, G. (2020) ‘A study on work from home in education industry due to COVID-19’, Int. J. Social and Humanistic Computing, Vol. 3, Nos. 3/4, pp.339–358.