The educational challenge in times of pandemic

Raúl Sampieri-Cabrera & Virginia Inclán-Rubio Facultad de Medicina, UNAM

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The pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 has prompted us to develop educational innovations that we think would be impossible to achieve in a short time. We have migrated all face-to-face activities to online and remote mode at record speed and, in some cases, without the necessary preparation. It is time to analyze and evaluate the contents and curriculum designs that we publish quickly.
This pandemic is likely to last indefinitely. In other words, we are going through periods of opening and closing of social activities. Without a doubt, this can cause mental and physical health problems that we must face and prevent. Educators, researchers, and health professionals have the moral commitment to inform the population of the best practices of personal care and coexistence that contribute to mitigating the spread of the virus and favor the population's health status.
It is also necessary to design health programs based on digital medicine, online academic advising, support groups, student clubs, and other actions that contribute to the development of social and academic support networks in our students.
It is a fact that the pandemic is revolutionizing the way we work, study, and interact socially. Now we are living new forms of coexistence that we may not like at all. However, if we adopt them responsibly, they can be a door to social development.
While it is true, on the one hand, the social and technological development gap has been evidenced, mainly in developing countries. We must work on public policies to increase internet coverage and establish digital security programs. Furthermore, we must balance online and face-to-face activities, where personal health and wellness are an inherent priority.
Fundamental learning from this pandemic is the need to strengthen teleworking and distance education. It would be a considerable setback to return to the face-to-face workday and face-to-face education with the model we did previously. Many of the activities we carry out can be done online or remotely. It is essential to adapt to this "new normal," but to do so efficiently and without fear of the challenges we must face.
Hybrid educational models are a favorable alternative in those educational activities that require procedural training. Now hybrid models need to be planned and evaluated. For this, educational administrators and managers must work on concrete curricular designs that include teacher training and updating programs.
Now more than ever, the 21st-century educator requires holistic competencies and teacher professionalism. This allows you to design teaching strategies based on your students' social, cultural, and demographic context.

Raúl Sampieri-Cabrera

Prof., Departamento de Fisiología, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

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