All over the world, students who attend tertiary education do so with the belief that the investment of their time, money and effort will provide them with returns on that investment that will change their lives and the lives of their families for years to come. As qualified graduates, those students emerge from their tertiary programmes with recognised skills and knowledge making them employable in their chosen fields, moving them forward along a career pathway and in many cases, bringing recognition to the institutions that trained them as they experience success and achievements related to their expertise.
In 2019, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development. The United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 4 challenges all nations to “ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all” by the year 2030. As we think about this in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the emerging post-COVID-19 environment, what does inclusive and equitable education look like and how do we ensure that lifelong learning opportunities are benefitted by all?
School as we all know it hasn’t changed that much in over a century. However, in the face of new threats to health and wellbeing, the future of those familiar structures that bring teachers and students together is starting to be questioned.