Effects of COVID-19 on Education in Healthcare and STEM
The Coronavirus Infectious Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic halted face-to-face classes in most schools, colleges, and universities worldwide, necessitating virtual instruction. This reformation of academics impacted every field of study, especially those students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM), and in the realm of healthcare science education. Ranging from middle/high school to undergraduate and graduate programs, STEM degrees entail rigorous curricula integrating extensive lectures on theoretical topics, and laboratory exercises to apply those concepts in a practical setting. Likewise, healthcare education involves hands-on, clinical lab components working on patients, guided by supervisors. The guidelines developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended refraining from physical learning environments and ensure social distancing as an important preventative measure against the contagion. As in-person classes, labs, and residencies were disrupted; students, faculty, staff, and administrators of STEM and healthcare education had to navigate multifarious challenges to continue the education effectively, while maintaining safety. This review encapsulates such effects of the pandemic on STEM and healthcare education in various countries. The study encompasses the strategies of distance education and alternative pedagogies for these disciplines adopted by institutions globally in the light of COVID-19, which could serve as a reference model for future pandemics.
Keywords:COVID-19 pandemic, global healthcare education, global STEM education
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