Could the COVID-19 Pandemic Disrupt the Education Bureaucracy?

The COVID-19 pandemic has left educators around the world to figure out the best ways on how to educate children. As the infection rates still keep going up, schools have to comply with all the restrictions imposed by the government. Nonetheless, education cannot be stopped despite all these. In fact, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has addressed this growing concern and have called education institutions to ensure the continuity and quality of learning during this crisis.

This urgency has created more innovations and self-governance among teachers and students. This sudden change has sent many to ask, “Could the COVID-19 crisis finally tear down the education bureaucracy?”

But why are many people against education bureaucracy to begin with?

The basis for school bureaucracies today can be traced back to when the United States transformed into an urban, industrial nation. Due to the development of many industries, many potential employees have to be trained for factory jobs and assembly line work. As a result, students had to follow a hierarchical command structure and learn specialized skills to get standardized outcomes.

While there are several positive aspects of the education bureaucracy, it has become problematic in modern society. With all the progress in information technology, adherence to these policies has proven to decrease productivity and efficiency.

Here are some of the reasons why many are against it:

  • It undervalues unconventional thinking from students.
  • It cripples initiatives and underestimates the ability of students to take and handle risks.
  • It discourages defiance and opposition, so students are afraid to speak up.
  • It forces students to comply with obscure policies and programs rather than teach them to adapt to the evolving world.
  • It forces students to have that ‘become number 1’ mindset rather than collaborate with others.

With the current disruption, what opportunities can be used to reform the bureaucratic system in education?

New terms for teachers.

Teachers should be allowed to run their classes their way. This autonomy will encourage teachers to broaden their creativity in teaching. Teachers should not be overburdened with paperwork either, and focus instead on their foremost duty: to teach. Funds coming from a scholarship or a children education trust can provide more educational resources to disruptive students.

Establish periodic evaluations.

Instead of conforming to excessive standards and rules, schools can undergo periodic evaluations conducted by independent observers. The criteria for evaluation should include school culture and academic achievement.

Restore the authority of school leaders.

Principals or school leaders should be able to run the school and have the authority to allocate budgets like providing scholarships for kids. They should be able to dismiss teachers who are less effective with their jobs.

Innovate educational programs.

The COVID-19 global crisis has become a catalyst for reforms in schools to look for more innovative solutions. Funds coming from a children’s education trust can be used to innovate more educational programs. Educators and students can benefit from it even after the pandemic.

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