GEPN Key Areas
COVID-19 and Global Education for Students and Faculty
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a massive impact on global society, including education. According to a UNESCO report, as of April 24th an estimated 1.57 billion learners in more than 191 countries have been shifted to virtual learning platforms. In response to these unprecedented circumstances, the Global Education Policy Network (GEPN), sponsored by Prince Sultan University and The State University of New York at Buffalo, has been created to promote collaborative and participatory research programs for all levels of education, primary, secondary and tertiary (P-20). The primary mission of GEPN is to integrate perspectives, theories, and methodologies from diverse disciplines of education as a resource for policymakers. With a focus on three research agendas – the virtual learning experience, the financial impact on education, and the socio-psychological impact on students and educators – the research initiatives of GEPN are intended to provide expert strategic guidance for students and faculty across cultures as well as policy recommendations for governments to meet educational demands amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
Virtual Learning Experience due to COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a paradigm shift in teaching and learning that could entail changes in education for future generation. It offers an opportunity for educators to think critically about issues of the effectiveness of virtual learning in a wide range of domains. GEPN specifically focuses on the implementation of digital literacy, instructional designs and capacities of schools, the new role of instructors in virtual learning, and the development of instructor and learner training programs.
Financial Impact on Education due to COVID-19
The economic turmoil caused by COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on higher education in many parts of the world. Among the uncertainties going forward are the ability of institutions to recruit and retain students, including and perhaps especially international students, given the shutting down of campuses. It also threatens the school to employment pipeline that attracts students in the first place. In the face of a looming financial crisis in education, GEPN offers research geared to development of policies and practices designed to strengthen the fiscal position of colleges and universities.
Socio-Psychological and Well-being Impact due to COVID-19
The uncertainty of COVID-19 means that academic institutions will need to be at the forefront of monitoring and protecting students’ health and safety. This includes a variety of factors that may affect students’ socio-psychological well-being, including anxiety related to travel restrictions, financial burdens, and limited access to health care systems. GEPN sponsors expert guidance in developing action plans for students to cope with COVID-19 related distress.