Education in Quarantine
Who would say 2020 was going to be the beginning of a new wave of modernisation in the most important aspects of life, such as education?
Daniela Gutiérrez M.
When COVID-19 started, I wasn’t sure I would be able to keep up with the studies I had already started in China. I was forced to go back to my home country, because I couldn’t return to Hangzhou after my winter holidays. This created an uncertain situation.
Without a doubt, most of the countries were not prepared for this disruptive change. However, China had one of the best responses against the virus. When the situation seemed unmanageable, the government and all the educative institutions adopted a general plan to provide quality education at home. Quickly and effectively, schools and universities created e-learning plans. Teachers were able to continue with the education process via online platforms.
Personally, although I wasn’t sure online lessons would have the same content and quality, the university had an amazing response. Teachers were concerned about give continuity to our learning process. Most of them were trained in new digital skills. They were able to not only keep up with the routine of the class, but also respond to our doubts and questions in an accurate way.
Definitely I would like to highlight the deep concern teachers had about our health. It stopped being a strict academic relationship and became a more personal one. Everyday my 老师 – Laoshi，asked about my temperature, where I was and my state of mind. Even at times when they weren’t supposed to be working, they seemed concerned about our situation and were available to help.
Among the difficulties I’ve been facing in this process is the 13-hour time difference with China. At first, the coordination of class schedules with students like me, located outside of the country, and the ones in Hangzhou, wasn’t easy. But since the lessons began, we have all been committed to help and support each other. Teachers have been really understanding and flexible with the time to submit homework and essays. They also take into consideration every question, so no one feels left behind.
The pandemic has made people rethink the current system and incorporate even more technology into the process of education
In my opinion, further work still needs to be done to make e-learning classes more personalised, less humdrum and repetitive, in order to stimulate creativity and prioritise students, parents and teacher’s mental health. If there’s something I have always admired about China, it is the capability of its institutions and people to adapt to new challenges and transform difficulties into progress, in order to grow as a country.