Written by: Julia Funaki Associate Director, International
A great deal has been written on the disruption to education through the Covid-19 pandemic. Undoubtedly there will be years of analysis and study of its impact on everything from mental and emotional help to future earnings. But, unfortunately, after almost 18 months, the world is still struggling to quell the virus, thus moving on is not something we can do.
Today, we are anxiously watching other crises unfold, which will undoubtedly deal another crippling blow to education, where systems were already fragile. The past few weeks have been overwhelming with the disruptions in Afghanistan as US troops rapidly withdrew and the Taliban have taken over, the continuing crumbling of the infrastructure of Lebanon, and the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Haiti. All of these crises are impacting systems where education was on the brink of collapsing, and these recent events and the fallout will exacerbate and accelerate the collapse.
You may be wondering what you can do as you read the news articles, watch the videos, or listen to interviews. This may begin with what you can do, such as donating money, supplies, or time to relief efforts. With my professional work in international education, I quickly began to consider what we could do as educators and administrators. I am happy to share that my colleagues at AACRAO and I are working on this now.! We already have resources to assist colleges, universities, credential evaluation agencies, and others in establishing and implementing a protocol for working with students and scholars in crisis.
Higher ed professionals and institutions can utilize AACRAO’s protocol for any type of disruption, whether natural disaster, localized strife, national or regional crisis. We encourage you to use this and adapt it to your policies and procedures.
While it is unlikely that we will see students coming from these crisis zones this year, we need to prepare. Therefore, we are organizing several offerings to discuss and address how we might best serve and support global students and scholars during times of crisis. We invite you, and need you, to be a part of this programming. Our greatest strength and support comes from the power of the hive and weaving a network of support and information.
Please join us and share your thoughts and ideas by clicking on the link below. We will be in touch with updates and offerings.
Each of you, our members, are consistently looking out for the best interests of students and advocating for them. You strive to achieve the promise of higher education and to do so as broadly as possible. Thank you for all you are doing! We hope you will use that commitment to join us in discovering how together we can assist global students and scholars, particularly those who have had their education disrupted.
Join us for a coffee break on Wednesday, September 22 to discuss further and find ways forward. In addition, we will be unveiling our Fall Webinar Series: Education in Crisis.