Nordic Educational Research Association (NERA)

Education and involvement in precarious times

The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the precarious nature of human existence, lacking in predictability and security as well as material and psychological welfare. However, some are more exposed than others, depending on social class, ethnicity, race, location, sexuality, gender, level of adjustment and need for special support. The Covid-19 pandemic has further entrenched the division between rich and poor and increased the state of precariousness for a larger part of the world. In other words, the pandemic has created a numerous social class of precariat.

In terms of education, the Covid-19 pandemic has, among other things, drawn attention to the precarious life of students and children around the world. Inequality and social injustice have increased in educational spaces, not only within countries but also between countries and localities, as is manifested in unequal distribution of knowledge, resources, and care. Some children have full access to online resources and involved and educated parents to help them in their studies, while others struggle for their basic needs. One can say that the pandemic has to a certain extent moved education into the private sphere and limited access to schools. This has made the students more susceptible and exposed to precarity.  On the other hand, the advance in education and the use of technology in rapidly changing circumstances is remarkable. This has resulted in an interesting shift in student-teacher relationships and parental involvement.

The current precarious nature of our times and its impact on education also offers possibilities for change and transformation. During the pandemic, educators generally experienced a need to modify their teaching, and many have been engaged in using new and different teaching and learning facilities. This has, among other things, triggered unforeseen results regarding general changes in pedagogy and didactics with a switch to a more flexible approach to teaching and learning, focusing on a higher degree of involvement of both teachers and students. We invite you to a creative and fruitful discussion on research and development, policies and practices in education, and potential involvement from diverse perspectives.