Open Studio 2: Young People in Education During and Beyond the Pandemic
Open studio #2, Cycle #2
The second Open Studio of the second cycle was held on 22 and 23 March 2022, in Donostia-San Sebastián, Spain, and was titled ‘Better is Possible: Young People in Education During and Beyond the Pandemic’. It brought together participants from the RESISTIRÉ consortium itself as well as experts, students, and creative people from outside of the project.
The COVID-19 pandemic had profound effects on the wider field of education and, consequently, on young people in education. Not least, the sudden and unexpected adoption of digital education in many countries – to help curb the number of COVID-19 infections – highlighted and exacerbated a lot of existing inequalities among students and pupils. This Open Studio sought to find solutions to already existing and newfound difficulties faced by young people in education, paying special attention to the gender+ inequalities that are prevalent among them.
One of the core issues that constituted the main focus of the Open Studio was the severe impact of the pandemic on students’ mental health: the global health crisis and associated policy measures to curb the spread of the virus have caused or exacerbated mental health issues like depression and anxiety among young people. Moreover, many pupils and students have struggled to keep up with digital and/or hybrid education, in terms of the equipment and materials required, the necessary skills and competences, and the reduced presence of peer and teacher support networks. This is often reflected in their educational progress as well. Taking into account gender+ inequalities, vulnerable pupils/students are in need of more support, especially those living in low-income households, ethnic minorities, LGBTQI+ people, and young (single) parents enrolled in education. In particular, young people with disabilities and/or special educational needs require better support measures in light of remote learning.
The main questions that this OS tried to answer were:
- How do we address the widespread mental health issues among young people that resulted from the pandemic?
- How can we make struggling young people more mentally healthy again and what can we do in schools and universities to prevent mental health issues from developing in the first place?
- How do we equip and educate pupils/students so that they can competently take part in digital education?
- What are the barriers that prevent young people in education from participating in online classes and how can we address those?
- How do we help students from the most vulnerable groups in society to engage in digital learning?
- Given that there are certain advantages to digital education, are there ways in which hybrid learning can be made more attractive to and useful for students?
- What is the right balance between digital learning and in-person classroom-based education?
- What transformations of education can we envision that promote and reinforce the important social functions of schools and educational institutions that, at the same time, are healthy and safe during pandemics and other crises?
To further inspire participants and evoke empathy, six personas were put forward to the group for them to think about the factors that could have made a difference in the lives of the people described.
Input from the Open Studios will feed the development of concrete solutions:
- Policy recommendations
- New research agendas
- Pilot actions to demonstrate the potential impact of the solutions suggested.
The operational recommendations produced in Cycle 2 will be available in July 2022. Register here to stay informed!