COVID-19 crisis culture shock
It was 2018. A call for action was made. Digitalisation was everywhere, but higher education is too slow in adopting it. Accelerate? Yes of course! That is why we all joined the national Acceleration Plan. It is time to work on IT in education. Lecturers and students must develop new skills, we must boost flexibility, and we must set up learning environments in which the education industry and the professional field can easily find each other. We do that together, because together we can do more! We got to know each other, made plans, developed guidelines, developed tools, frameworks, and did experiments.
Then 2020 came. Only one thing on our minds: the COVID-19 crisis. We’re talking about digitalisation taking off. About creativity and decisiveness that we’ve never witnessed before in education. Collaboration across institutional borders apparently never really existed. We’re working hard to get everything physical from before online. Our work looks different. Learning looks different for the students. The work of professionals, if they still have a job, looks different. The acceleration is there. Is this crisis the real game changer? Do you have a crystal ball to tell?
This crisis happened to us and our actions are determined by it. Anthropologist Jitske Kramer sees this crisis as one that causes a collective culture shock. We all go through four stages explained in this animation.
Personally, I believe I’m currently somewhere between the honeymoon phase: “It is quite nice to stay at home, it makes the world small for a while and creates a certain solidarity among those working hard to keep providing education to our students,” and the first culture shock: “Aaargh! When can I go out again and see people? *Sigh*… ” I hold on to the idea that during the second culture shock, there is room for transformation and positive changes because we have started to think about things differently collectively.
Accelerating alone isn’t enough. Let’s keep wondering if we’re doing the right thing. What is the essence of young people’s development? How do we best help professionals in their work? How can we contribute to the well-being of people who drop out because of the crisis? How can we utilise new possibilities and opportunities together?