How can corporates support education post-Covid-19?
The world is forever changed by the Covid-19 global pandemic. Beyond the immediate and serious health issues that some of us are dealing with in our families, challenges have arisen in all kinds of areas – for employers, for employees (turned homeschoolers), and in the way that we connect using technology. In this environment it is more important than ever that employers show empathy and a desire to help – for their (potential) clients, and just as importantly for their employees.
Education and Covid-19: What’s Next?
One thing that impacts every family is education, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic. How is that going to look over the next year? What has our experience been over the last few weeks? How can we make sure our kids are learning? What new opportunities does the current situation present? And how can I get my kids to engage independently with their education – not least because as parents we need to be able to work from home? Here are our takeaways and the opportunities that they present to CSR teams everywhere.
Online education has accelerated by ten years in ten weeks. While some experiences may be better than others, most parents will have now had some positive experience with online learning. Given that face to face meeting is going to continue to be unpredictable in the months to come, can you support parents by providing high-quality learning activities for their children? Ideally, these would be fun, engaging, independent, and give kids not only skills but also motivation to keep learning. These could work with schools and teachers, or they could be an independent learning experience.
We partnered with Amazon and their Amazon Future Engineer programme to provide free Creative Python learning resources, and within a few weeks we had over 25,000 users actively exploring themes like flying drones and creating chatbots while learning Python. This is a community outreach activity that has a scaleable, demonstrable impact right across the country. Think about how you could support learning in your community, especially in subjects where a specialist might not be readily available locally.
Finding New Ways
An accidental positive of schools being disrupted is that families can think outside the box around the child’s education. What is something that your children have wanted to learn that they might not normally have time to? We know teens that are learning how to sew (masks), bake sourdough bread, create apps and others engaging with native language conversation lessons online. Would your employees appreciate learning credits to help themselves or their children learn new skills that either fuel their creativity or give them skills that will help them in the future?
What are key skills that you think young people are missing and that you might be able to support as a company? Are their inequalities that you would like to help redress? Could you sponsor laptops or wifi for families that don’t have those resources for their kids? Could you develop a future skills programme to help underserved communities or girls succeed in STEM?
Education is an issue that affects every single family. Consider how you can support parents who want to be sure that their children are continuing to engage with learning, both inside school and as a way to make the most of this period when the usual busy-ness has been paused.