Challenges and Survival Strategies for Higher Learning Institutions Post Covid -19


Authors : Gwebente Mudenda; Dr Burton Mweemba; Edwin Bbenkele; Boyd Longwe; Windu Matoka

Volume/Issue : Volume 7 - 2022, Issue 9 - September

Google Scholar : https://bit.ly/3IIfn9N

Scribd : https://bit.ly/3SKgSKl

DOI : https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.7183846

The higher education sector has experienced turbulence and crises over the years such as earthquakes, hurricanes and other catastrophes. Higher learning institutions have responded to these in diverse ways. The Covid-19 pandemic unlike other forms of crises which oftentimes were region specific in nature was a global crisis. The epidemic in addition to being a global phenomenon came so swiftly and was associated with protocols that instantly required abandonment of traditional modes of teaching and learning as it required social distancing measures to save lives for tertiary institution workers and students. Most educational institutions had to resort to remote or virtual learning modes of teaching and learning. As a result of urgency with which the pandemic came, there was little room to reflect on the response strategies or even budget for follow up interventions. The key impacts from the pandemic were that there was sudden shift to online modes of delivery across the globe. This brought about mental strain among learners and lecturers who had to shift to predominantly online modes of engagement with minimal or no prior training on use of online teaching and learning platforms. Furthermore, higher learning institutions experienced reduced incomes especially for institutions that heavily depended on foreign students as enrolments shrank due to travel bans that were associated with the pandemic. The response mechanisms which succeeded were those closely tied to institutions that already had online engagement before the pandemic. Major challenges encountered by learning institutions had to do with online delivery support infrastructure, learning platforms, internet access, speed and cost. No universal survival strategies emerged except for smooth transiting from face to face interactions to virtual modes of delivery. Stakeholder engagement was identified as a critical factor by institutional leaders in coming up with survival strategies, for mitigating the adverse effects of the pandemic.

Keywords : Covid-19, Crises, Response, Strategies.

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