How the pandemic is affecting the world’s education system?


Woman in Yellow Long Sleeve Shirt Checking The Temperature of Her Student


Today, most educational institutions in the world are closed to slow the spread of the coronavirus. These changes affected more than 1.5 billion people – both preschoolers and those who were preparing to defend their doctoral degrees. Almost 20% of the world’s students are forced to stay at home and entrust the role of teachers to parents or relatives



In just a few days, teachers from all over the world have digitized educational processes. Millions of students began to receive education remotely, and teachers abandoned the lecture form of education. At the same time, digital solutions in the field of education were previously not used as actively as it might seem. The pandemic played the role of a kind of stress test and again raised the issue of “digital inequality”, recalling that 40% of the world’s population still does not have access to the Internet.

With the gradual transition of the education system to online learning, the disadvantages of the lack of an IT strategy in universities began to appear. Previously, educational institutions and teachers could use any platform they liked – Google, MSFT Teams, Coursera, Blackboard, Moodle, Canvas. The result of this freedom of choice was that after the general transition to distance education, it turned out to be extremely difficult to centralize and create a single platform.

The full implementation of the online education system requires a completely new business model for universities, with serious changes in the approach to financial and personnel management, as well as the complete digitalization of the administrative block.

Many countries have promptly prepared their own technical solutions in response to the pandemic. Among the most interesting:

  • The governments of South Korea, Japan and Lebanon have distributed interactive software to teach subjects ranging from calculus to fitness.
  • More than 100 million students in China gain knowledge through dedicated TV channels.
  • Lesson plans and lecture plans began to be published much more often on social networks and instant messengers, for example, in WhatsApp.
  • In order to digitize all the necessary educational materials in the shortest possible time, cooperation is organized between government agencies, the media, technology companies, the publishing business and the entertainment industry.

As in most other areas, the pandemic exposes the problems and limitations of remote management of such a complex enterprise as a university. However, it must also become a catalyst for positive change. If the pace of digitalization of learning and student assessment accelerates, so will the supporting infrastructure for education.

SAP works with many digital leaders, so we are well aware of the digital transformation process. So, we worked with the American Purdue University on a project to transform the university administration. This happened immediately after the acquisition of the non-profit Kaplan University, one of the leaders in online learning. Now, the combined organization Purdue Global offers students from all over the world a huge selection of online courses on a variety of topics.

We also work with one of the oldest distance learning institutions in the world – the Open University in the UK. 175 thousand students make it the largest university in the country. Together we digitize student information and workflows.



I believe that just as the Internet has become an integral part of life for half of the planet, online education will soon cease to be unusual. Interaction with students in this format requires the support of many business processes, such as enrollment, performance assessment and student data, document management. By bringing students and teachers together in a single digital field, we will take a revolutionary leap forward.

Of course, we will have lectures, classrooms and physical education lessons. It is rather about greater integration of training and digital administration of educational institutions. Just imagine how much educational content is generated daily. Students will soon choose their own online tutor based on the ratings of other users. In essence, this is democratization, which will make even the highest quality education available to everyone. Harvard and MIT have already started this process by implementing the edX collaborative platform, which makes their lectures (but not their diplomas) available at no cost.

Technologies will penetrate all aspects of the university’s activities: chat bots and digital assistants will be able to answer students’ questions, blockchain will protect the authenticity of digital diplomas, VR will recreate real interaction with a teacher on an exam, predictive analytics will help identify the reasons for student progress or failure, the Internet of Things will allow “smart »The campus to manage its subsystems.

We recently signed a contract with a university in Brazil with over 2 million students , most of whom are online. SAP’s mission is to help complete the digital transformation of two key processes. The “Go Digital” message is addressed to students, and “Be Digital” is addressed to the university staff. And rightly so, because how can we help students learn online effectively if we ourselves are unable to embrace digitalization?

In my opinion, here is a short list of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on education in the medium and long term:

  • Bring Your Own Technology’s approach to university IT strategy will change and become more centralized and standardized. There will be a rethinking of teaching and learning processes, campus management, its finances and “residents”.
  • The education sector has long since embarked on the adoption of cloud-based university management applications. The process will go faster when universities see all the benefits of standardization, which will allow them to devote more time and attention to their main tasks: learning, involvement in the educational process and scientific activity.
  • The digitalization of teaching research resources will also accelerate. Universities and schools will have much more flexibility in supporting new teaching and learning models.
  • Digitalization will help reduce the administrative costs of universities and reorient towards performing all the same basic tasks – training, involvement in the educational process and scientific activity.

Higher education is a business with a high level of competition, as evidenced by the close attention of all industry participants to the results of annual surveys, such as the World University Rankings according to The Time. The COVID-19 crisis will surely affect these rankings, and universities that can turn turbulence into learning opportunities will thrive in the post-pandemic world.


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