First of all, I want to log in by writing about this pandemic situation we are in. COVID-19 was first noticed in December 2019 in Wuhan, China’s Hubei Province. It was identified as a new virus that spread rapidly all over the world on January 13, 2020. According to the data shared by UNESCO, only 4 countries decided to close all schools on 1 March, while this number was 124 as of 23 March. This means that 1,254,315,203 students worldwide did not go to school and were affected by this situation.
I would say that there is a rapid change in the education system both in Turkey and all around the world. Although it varies according to countries and regions, measures to protect the right to education have started to be taken and applications have been developed. The primary reason for this is that education continues through distance education. At this point, non-formal learning methods are very important for us but why?
As everyone knows, the coronavirus did not only affect working people, the economy and social life, but innumerous students were also affected. So their lives changed almost entirely in terms of education. When we speak about Turkey, we can say lessons for primary and secondary school students are uploaded to the e-learning site used by the Ministry of Education. Thus, students can listen to their daily lessons through this system during class hours. In universities, this situation varies depending on the soundness of the online systems of each university and they can take the courses as online or all of the course contents can be shared with the students.
Many students are trying to continue their learning by participating in courses offered through other non-formal learning methods on the Internet. These may be SALTO, the educational platform offered by the European Union to young people, or international universities with some reputations. Because universities with many international and deep-rooted backgrounds has opened their lessons as free of charge for the students to turn the crisis into an opportunity. Although students are taking compulsory lessons from their school, they have wanted to learn other information to improve themselves for 3 months. For this reason, all youngsters are aware of the permanence of non-formal learning method
Non formal learning enables the creativity and multi-use of the participant, increases the power of decision making, improves the ability to communicate positively with individuals, improves the ability to question and express themselves, enables to be active and participative instead of being stationary or passive, increases the ability to act with the group. It provides democratic personality development. These competencies, each of which is very important, will provide benefit for students in such a period.
After this outbreak, many things will change in the digital world, especially for education. The most important feature found in the basis of non-formal learning methods is that features such as language, religion, race, gender, age do not matter. These changes in education can be a very good development in order to be more egalitarian in learning.
On the other hand, I think it will be a little difficult for students to reach the courses they want to develop. Dealing with so much information can be a bit tiring until they adapt themselves. However, it will not be difficult to share what they have learned with their friends and support each other in such a digital world.
In this process, while supporting technological knowledge and skills of teachers, necessary trainings should be provided to develop interactive content suitable for digital education. In my opinion, teachers need to be more interactive and use non-formal learning methods in this process in order to continue to keep students in class.
Corbiz Project Specialist