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Higher Education in the post-Covid era’ one of the most important topics in the present day dealt under the ‘LSME Looking Beyond 2020

Covid-19 Pandemic confronted the world with unprecedented and uncertain times; as a global community overwhelmed our economies, education and health care systems, governance, politics, ways of life etc. While this incidence will set us back several years, if not decades, life has to go on, and we will have to rebuild the society under a new reality, for which we did not previously plan. But how quickly and swiftly, we do that would largely depend on the political leadership, technology, human behaviour and adaptation and at the core of all is the system of education and its evolution.

In our living history, we have never been faced with a situation of such sweeping changes requiring rapid adoption of new technologies. Whether ready or not, teachers and students alike had to migrate to online/blended teaching-learning environments overnight. Now it is essential for us to assess whether this sudden and drastic technological transition in the modus operandi has brought a transformation in teaching and learning and how it affects the quality and output. The question also arises: how does this change affect or impact education globally, especially Higher Education, in a post-Covid era? Is this an opportunity to innovate and evolve or return to our systems’ glory upon gaining normalcy?

To strategically dissect and analyse and give perspective to the situation, London School of Management Education brought together eminent personalities from five regions of the globe on an online seminar. The Keynote Address was provided by the Minister of Higher Education of Maldives, Hon Dr Ibrahim Hassan and in his address, he alluded to the challenges that a pandemic of this magnitude could bring to a small country divided into numerous tiny islands separated by a vast ocean. He further outlined the rapid and strategic response of his government in ensuring the continuation of education.

The Education Adviser for the Commonwealth Secretariat, Nasir Kazmi in his opening statement, highlighted the hardship posed by the Pandemic on the countries that were challenged with providing equitable access to education even before the Pandemic, to which he drew analogies from across the Commonwealth.

Panellists; Vice-Chancellor Professor Raja Welukar of the Auro University, India, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Dr Aishath Shehenaz Adam of the Maldives National University, Dr Peter Gray of Institutt for lærerutdanning (ILU), Norway and Dr Trevor Mendis of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura, Sri Lanka in their remarks highlighted critical factors affecting Higher Education in their regional contexts and gave fresh perspectives on future of education in a post-Covid era.

The Chairperson, Professor Stephen McKinney from the University of Glasgow, facilitated a lively and in-depth discussion around varied viewpoints expressed by the audience attending from different parts of the world and from multiple time zones. He expressed his delight over the intensive academic debate, which led to identifying critical issues, ideas, and matters for future debates.

In conclusion, the Principal of the London School of Management Education indicated that having seen the high level of participation and interaction in the event, she feels that the platform’s objective has been met. Further, she expressed her belief that the platform has given additional vigour to those present to go further, seeking answers and solutions to the issues discussed. She went on to say that the session has given traction to LSME to innovate the future. While thanking the Panelists for their contribution, she offered a special vote of thanks to Minister Dr Ibrahim Hassan for very kindly taking precious time out of his busy schedule to attend and provide such a thorough analysis of the Higher Education during and in the aftermath of the Pandemic. She expressed her sincere appreciation for the participants who made the session an inspiring one.

It was an exclusive event organised by the London School of Management Education, under its ‘Looking Beyond 2020’ online series, and more such events are being planned for the rest of the year. Next in the series will be announced shortly; stay tuned!

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