COVID-19 marked a turning point in the field of education around the world. Teaching as we knew it evolved towards a 100% digital and online model due to the impossibility of performing it in person. At ProFuturo we know that education requires perseverance, commitment and effort. We therefore took a leap forward to ensure that, despite the difficult situation, our teachers and students wouldn’t stop learning.
Our experience in digital teaching enabled us to train more than 500,000 teachers from 50 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America in 2020. In addition, as we believe that technology that’s used properly brings us together instead of separating us, we made 1,800 hours of language, mathematics, science, technology and life skill contents available to students and teachers around the world via our platform, which we opened up to the global education community.
The pandemic: a motivation to learn more
As 2021 begins, although there is still a long way to go until normality, there seem to be glimpses of hope of a gradual and safe return to school. Our students from all over the world are looking forward to meeting their peers and continuing to learn with their teachers in the classroom. This is what an Angolan student told us: “I’d like the lessons in 2021 to be like they used to be, when we played, hugged, talked and spent time with more classmates”.
Hoy celebramos el #DíaInternacionalDeLaEducación en un 2021 donde, desde ProFuturo, deseamos una vuelta al cole para siempre📚
✨Nuestros estudiantes, sueñan con volver a abrazar a sus compañeros de clase🫂@fundacionTef @FundlaCaixa @AUB_Lebanon @KayanyLebanon @ayalafoundation pic.twitter.com/cCeuSqUng7
— @Profuturo_ (@ProFuturo_) January 24, 2021
Other students have been inspired by the virus to keep on studying and fight it when they grow up. A Lebanese girl is left with no doubts: “I want to be a doctor when I grow up and treat all the sick children and students. I hope that no virus or damage affects the schools in Bekaa or any other school”. Others’ expectations are focused on “a peaceful year without strikes” in the educational and social spheres, as a student from Senegal remarked.
Estudiantes de ProFuturo de todo el mundo nos cuentan sus deseos para este año. No piden juguetes…
✨ Y tú ¿qué le pides a 2021?
Nosotros, que la vuelta al cole sea para siempre.#EducarTransforma #SomosProFuturo https://t.co/YtHIgRfb2q @FundlaCaixa @fundacionTef pic.twitter.com/KfRVYxYVGR
— @Profuturo_ (@ProFuturo_) January 15, 2021
Integrating digital learning
However, it’s becoming increasingly evident that the combination of the classical educational model and the use of new technologies is very enriching and motivating for the students. Thus, a student from the Philippines on the programme told us of his desire for a school that’s “more open to effective learning, with better access to technologies such as digital teaching tools”. He also wants “the teachers to be able to improve their teaching strategies even more”.
Desde Kenia, un estudiante de ProFuturo, sueña con seguir utilizando las tabletas con sus compañeros de clase⌨️
Ayer celebramos el #DíaInternacionalDeLaEducación. Nuestro deseo, es que la vuelta al cole sea para siempre✨#EducarTransforma @fundacionTef @FundlaCaixa pic.twitter.com/mW8w98z4gU
— @Profuturo_ (@ProFuturo_) January 25, 2021
On 24 January we celebrated the International Day of Education. In a radio interview, Magdalena Brier, the general director of ProFuturo, highlighted the need for the acceleration of the transformation of the education system. Digitising education and training students and teachers in the digital age is essential and this pandemic has further emphasised the importance of the above.
Despite the common dream of a definitive return to the classroom, we mustn’t miss out on the opportunities on offer in the digital world. Magdalena highlighted the potential of digital education as a complement to classroom presence: “It enables us to personalise learning, work in teams, develop our own contents, search for contents from around the world and enter into contact with other cultures”.