Education needs proper insight into the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for students and better knowledge of what works if we are to eliminate adverse consequences, argues Inge de Wolf, Professor of Education Systems at the Research Centre for Education and the Labour Market (ROA) at Maastricht University.
A small, very prominent group of people are calling for this COVID-19 crisis to be the time to innovate education. This is followed by a colourful procession of emotions, opinions, one-sided experiences and ideologies. Everyone seems convinced that they are right and proposals are numerous: exams or no exams, an extra year of education or targeted refresher courses, self-development or just language and maths… All too often, the facts are lacking to make sound decisions.
Just as with discussions about the virus, bringing forth an army of popular educational topics does not lead to the best solutions. It causes confusion, arguments about who is right, and discussions about definitions. It distracts from what needs to be done. What we need are two things: (1) a good understanding of the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for students and (2) knowledge of what works best to eliminate adverse effects on students. Use insights from science, as is done in the fight against the virus via the Outbreak Management Team (OMT).