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Education & health are going to be more complicated & expensive in future

23 June 2020
2 minute read

Woman sitting on lawn on laptop with face mask

By Mkhululi Chimoio

Respectable researchers have said the coronavirus, Covid-19, is going to be with us for some years to come. There is no doubt that in the past three months it has been with us here in South Africa this virus has changed our lives. These changes have specifically been around education and health. According to the World Bank, although the virus is mainly a health issue expected to crumble health systems across the world, its effects have also been felt in education owing to extended lockdowns. According to the World Bank, by March over 150 countries had closed down schools affecting one billion students worldwide. According to Cathy Li and Farah Lalani writing in the World Economic Forum website, by May 2020, over 1, 2 billion children were out of class in 186 countries. South Africa is among these countries.

Covid-19 and the lockdowns have already affected education in two ways. First, lockdowns and shutting down of schools has meant that homes become spaces of learning and education. This has seen growth in the eLearning tools market. Already by 2019, global education technology investments reached $18, 66 billion and overall market for online education is projected to reach $350 billion by 2025. These include investments in language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools and online learning software. Part of this money will come from the domestic economy or home budgets.

While in the past, the large majority of children and adults learning took place in schools and colleges, only a tiny fraction of it spilled home in the form of homework. Second, and related to the first change, the home has become and will continue to be a space of the large majority of education. This is because as schools re-open, there will be emphasis on social distancing and ensuring that students spend as little time around each other as possible. These changes mean that, first, there will be increase in the cost of education and, second, there will be a need to take out insurance for the education corners so they are always functional. This entails investment in stationery, computers and other technology. This increases the home expenses (economy) raising the need for financial planning which includes insuring gadgets in this education corner.

Where health is concerned, countries will have to spend a lot of money strengthening public health infrastructure. Clearly, it is ordinary citizens who will pay the cost of this making health expensive for them. In that, no one schedules when they fall ill, there will always be a need to take health cover to insure oneself. Going forward there will be emphasis on preventing falling seriously ill. The cost around health and healthcare will balloon for individuals as they seek to look after their general health and specifically boost their immune system.

The Medical Futurist speculates that there might be an introduction of a new travel document: the immunity passport that will function like normal passports and visas. The website says "if you are certified to be immune to the virus, you will get a pass to resume your daily routine, and if not, you will have to stay indoors." Health is going to be expensive because one's health status will be tied to one’s participation in public spaces and in life. As in education, it would be advisable to invest and cover one's health. 

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