Part 2

by Egi Gaisie

Educational systems around the world were caught off guard, when COVID-19 pandemic struck during the first quarter of the year 2020. 

Since the beginning of this year, we have been deliberating on this blog, on concerns related to education and training in the hospitality and tourism industry in Ghana. We recounted issues on interest and passion of students for the industry and the need to push the industry forward. 

Stressful events are very common in educational settings, both for students and for teachers. 

For students, multitude of exams, evaluations and deadlines all contribute to creating an enormous pressure. Now they have to contend to new norms in learning! Exciting times for some. 

Below is a teacher’s ‘confession’: 

“Where I teach — a small, primarily residential liberal-arts college — there was a time when professors would have avoided online teaching like the plague. Five years ago I wasn’t teaching any online courses. This semester, my entire course load is online. And so is next semester’s. .. What’s interesting is how many of us who work at “traditional” colleges are now trying to figure out how to create an online version of a face-to-face courses we’ve been teaching for years.”

For some of us, our eyes are still on industry; not much seems to be happening. Here in Ghana, the hospitality and tourism industry’s future seems unclear, ‘post covid-19’. Hopefully, we are all mindful that education and training in our industry is not complete without work-integrated learning, so directing some significant attention to industry would obviously enhance efforts being made on the education and training front. 

It is on the ‘field’ that students wanting to pursue careers in the industry develop their passion. As indicated by our guest in our discussion last week, ‘students are eager to study a discipline that brings value to their lives and a good return on investment for their sponsors’. 

There are new approaches to education and training. Higher education has moved away from traditional classroom settings to non-traditional environment which is becoming the new norm. 

Source: Central Times

The new normal for education is a mix of online and in-person classes. Approximately half of the class sessions are on-campus, while the other half have students working online. In the traditional classroom model, teachers first explain each topic, and then assign homework. Now, we read about a ‘flipped classroom model’, where students first view the topics outside of class, and then use class time for inquiry-based learning.

Hybrid and blended learning fall in the middle of the learning spectrum between fully in-person instruction and fully online instruction. From left to right: face-to-face, blended learning, hybrid learning, online learning.
Source: WWT

I have come across quite a number of terminologies; hybrid, blended, online. Apparently there’s a whole spectrum of approaches coming out from eLearning. We wait to find out what the institutions we will soon be show casing are doing.  

There is also the area of vocational education and training in the sector. Talk about revamping this area! There is a lot going on in a number of countries in this area to facilitate self –study supported by complementary video tutorials delivered through radio, TV, online and through CD and flash-drives.  

Vocational education and training seems to continue with its traditional classroom teaching approach in our accredited vocational education and training institutions, though protocols like social distancing and wearing of the nose mask are observed. Students spend hours in the practical workshops each week learning hands-on practical skills related to their chosen field.  

I guess there are too many challenges confronting us now, to think of exploring ‘virtual reality’ an innovation which allows students to have hands-on experiences in their field and assist them in feeling prepared for their future careers using technology. 

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