The coronavirus pandemic has not only changed the shape of businesses and the world economy, but also many socio-political structures, in particular in Iran. And now in Iran, there is talk of these changes being permanent even after the end of the epidemic. However, these are not the only direct economic areas affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
In the meantime, however, one of the most important areas seems to be the field of education.
Surveys and statements by officials show that with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in Iran, some 3 to 3.5 million students have dropped out of school, a shocking figure that, if true, would throw Iran from an educational perspective into decades ago.
The non-market sectors of various economies around the world have also been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. However, some countries have managed to quickly turn threats in this area into opportunities.
Studies in the East Asian region (which also witnessed the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic) show that by 2030, 63% of university education in various countries, including East Asia, maybe online, and so is evidence. The form should be issued and presented to the graduates, a method that Japan has already keyed in.
In China, for students to have better learning and at the same time does not face physical health problems, the courses have been shortened so that most of the courses are online and the classes are between 8 and 10 and finally until 11 o’clock. They are held in the morning.
In this system, courses such as sports exercises are taught online. On the other hand, in addition to educational issues, school students should measure their body temperature every day and inform teachers.
Encouraging schools to use Internet tools has become one of the goals of the Chinese Ministry of Education in recent years, with all teachers should learn computer science by 2022 and schools be equipped with digital systems.
Iran has also experienced this situation with the so-called “Shad” (Happy) system, but it seems that the failure of this form of education is due to the lack of proper distribution of educational infrastructure in the country (lack of funds to buy tablets in deprived areas, lack of frequent power outages and internet cut-offs in provinces such as Sistan and Baluchestan and Bushehr), has practically caused a crisis in the country’s education.
According to the Minister of Education, about 3 million Iranian students have dropped out of school after the coronavirus pandemic. Students living in deprived areas without internet and lack of access to educational tools have been the main reasons for students to drop out of school.
According to Ghasem Ali Khodabandeh, Director General of Education of Khorasan Razavi Province, this province with a share of 40,000 people, has the highest dropout rate in the country.
The criteria of the Minister of Education for identifying the statistics of school dropouts are students who are not registered in the “Shad” network. In many families, however, children are enrolled in the Shad network but have not been able to continue their education due to poverty and deprivation.
Many students (especially in the lower grades) used their parents’ cell phones to connect to the “Shad” network, which was not available to them at all hours of the day. Many families also had only one phone, and several students had to study with it.
Doubts about the statistics announced by the Ministry of Education are because over the past year there have been conflicting statistics on the number of children who have dropped out of school. Ahmad Hossein Fallahi, a member of the Education and Research Commission of the regime’s parliament, announced in February 2020 that 3.5 million students had dropped out of school.
Behrouz Mohebbi, another member of parliament, in an interview with the state-run ILNA news agency in April of this year, reported a 30 to 40 percent dropout rate during the pandemic. But before that, in January 2020, Javad Hosseini, the head of the Exceptional Education Organization, announced that 30 percent of the students, or about five million students, do not have access to intelligent teaching aids.
After all, the problems of online education are not limited to the type of education or the adaptability of students and teachers to the new conditions.
Based on data from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which covers the world’s most developed countries, the issue of “educational justice” is intertwined with the issue of online education.
But how do these two issues relate to each other? The answer may be explained using the concept of “digital divide”. “Digital divide” refers to the socio-economic gap that arises from the difference in the level of Internet access and cyberspace.
Thus, in parallel with the escalation of economic inequality in Iran (as evidenced by official reports using the Gini coefficient), another type of inequality is spreading in the form of a dim light: digital inequality.