Education disruption is the ‘shadow pandemic’ that could eclipse the health crisis in its impact. And with mounting learning gaps and lagging policy, Canadian students are falling behind their global peers.

Following are excerpts from an article that appeared in a MacLeans publication (June 4th – authored by Sarmishta Subramanian).

“Children will return to classrooms with enormous variability in their abilities. …....Timing matters. “Here’s the thing about education,” says Prachi Srivastava. (Srivastava, an associate professor of global education at Western University in Ontario) “It’s a cumulative process, and the outcomes are cumulative. So if you’ve had a disruption for any length of time beyond a couple of weeks, this is now going to accumulate. And it’s going to accumulate in a way that, unless we make major changes to that process, is going to leave out the vast majority of children.”

... Many experts—children included—believe fully online learning isn’t anywhere near as effective or engaging (as in-class instruction).

The pandemic school year wasn’t without its unexpected silver linings. Children learned resilience, and in many cases, autonomy. The suspension of extracurricular activities, while they were missed by kids, meant more free play, and some respite from overscheduling. The switch to remote learning led to later school start times, and more sleep for teens, which correlates with better academic performance and health. And children spent a lot more time with their families. For many—though decidedly not all—the time was beneficial, strengthening bonds.

For schools, the question, ultimately, is how to respond on a human scale to adversity; how to keep the focus on children as people, not units requiring resource allocation or variables in a strategic plan. The first step in meeting their needs—particularly the needs of the most vulnerable among them—is learning what those needs are, for each child.

The article may be accessed in its entirety at the following URL/Internet link: