The health crisis is, not surprisingly, a major issue for the educational institutions surveyed. 53% of them report a negative impact, and 13% have come to a standstill. Among the different segments of activity, the early childhood sector is the most particularly affected by the crisis.
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The difficulties are first and foremost financial, due to the difficulty of collecting school fees when schools are closed, in addition to the ongoing costs of personnel and school operations. The issue of cash flow is the one most cited by respondents, ahead of human resources and production challenges. Nearly 60% of educational institutions have experienced a drop in revenue due to the health crisis.
The current situation, and in particular the sudden closure of schools, has highlighted the lack of infrastructure adapted to connectivity at the national level but also within the educational institutions themselves: lack of equipment, adapted classrooms, lack of online content allowing students to follow courses at a distance, lack of resources in terms of digital media, unavailability of an internet connection for many of the students.
Adapting to the crisis and the growing role of digital technology
The sudden closure of schools has forced the vast majority of educational institutions to adapt and rethink their offer and method of operation. Some even had to develop a new offer. This is for example the case of KËR Imagination, which has developed tools for parents to help them accompany their children at home. These changes were made as a matter of urgency in the context of an unprecedented situation, but could become permanent for 47% of the institutions surveyed.
Among these changes, the use of digital technology and the development of online learning is the most obvious. 60% of respondents have used a digital platform as a response to the challenges of the Covid-19 crisis and the sudden closure of schools (a platform to support educational content and/or a platform for exchange and communication with students, such as Zoom, Teams or Skype).
The transition to digital also proved to be very difficult, if not impossible, to implement for some institutions, especially in early childhood or vocational training, for which distance learning was not feasible. In this case, the majority of responses were to organize face-to-face courses in small groups in order to respect the barriers.
⇒ The education sector, and in particular the early childhood sub-sector, was strongly affected by the Covid-19 crisis
⇒ The main issue for these educational institutions is financial, due to the difficulty of collecting school fees when schools are closed, to which is added the permanence of personnel and school operating expenses resulting in a real problem of WCR and significant cash flow tensions.
⇒ The current situation, and in particular the sudden closure of schools, has highlighted the lack of infrastructure adapted to connectivity (lack of equipment, adapted classrooms etc.)
⇒ While digital has repeatedly been presented as an answer to the Covid-19 crisis, it should be noted that digital does not represent a long-term learning option for these institutions. Rather, blended learning may become more prevalent.