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Long term impact on Design of Schools for Post Covid19 World

Updated: May 18, 2021

#Covid19 has definitely disrupted the normalcy of the hackneyed old world's expectations. But if we look deeply, what it really has done is merely accelerated the inevitable changes in various aspects e.g. adaptation of technology, pushing the Governments all over the world towards focusing on the medical infrastructure, paused the blind development processes, perhaps giving the environment a bit more time to readjust its backlogs and bring pollution closer to it's carrying capacity, even if temporarily.

However the most important impact it had (mostly due to World wide lockdown processes) is perhaps on the psychology of people and especially students all over the world.

Initially one can understand a lot of apprehension on sending children to schools and the impact on administration will be there (for this please read the Initial Impact on Educational Architecture post Covid19 LockDown). But these will probably be shorter term, say 2-3 years, and temporary in nature. But we envision the actual impact is going to be far more than these temporary adjustments of health and hygiene related precautions and measures.

As in our opinion, in longer term, suddenly the students and their parents, as they are discovering a new way to learn through and beyond the schools without physically attending, will expect much more from a school. Presently as schools are yet to reopen post lockdown, certain aspects of comprehensive education is definitely not in the perfect state. Interpersonal and Intrapersonal development which is essential aspects of education, is suffering due to virtual-only connections, the kinesthetics e.g. playing, falling down, running, touching each other, fighting then forgiving and becoming friends again are being missed. At the same time the tremendous opportunity is opening up. I would say, more so for the hitherto underprivileged children without access to quality education, which now may well be possible if the best of schools comes forward and live streams their classes in an open source platform.

The requirement of the schools are also changing fast. Hopefully when post #Covid19 the schools reopens, the fundamental approach may have to be reconsidered to stay relevant. In many cases the students equipped with video tutorials from best teachers online may come more prepared to a class than the teacher herself.

Schools are no longer to be a platform for information based learning, that students can do at home also. It must become a platform for application, experimentation and networking based learning. Especially in India, with #Govt_of_India's #New_Educational_policy recognizing the value of out of the classroom learning, the spaces beyond the walls of the classrooms are to become more valuable in the process of #all_round_learning.

Although the concept is not new. In India even in the #Viswabharati at Santiniketan Kabiguru (Master Poet of world) Rabindranath Tagore explored the concept of learning amidst nature and succeeded in producing world class thinkers, painters, sculptors, film makers, artists and philosophers. If we go further back the Nalanda University can also be a testimonial for the concept at university level, though. However the education for new era is no less than complexity of a University. Schools has to become Mini-Universities to cater to need of the fast changing society.

Hopefully, this era of superfast change will not overwhelm the young minds beyond their limits and will be instrumental in forming the future these great minds deserves.

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The Author, Ar. Abhishek Dutta, is a National Award winning architect (also a gold medalist (thesis) from J.U.) and Environmental Expert with more than 14 years of working experience as one of the most respected creative architects. He is the Editor, of IIA-WB Chapter , Treasurer of the Institute of Indian Interior Designers (IIID) Kolkata and a visiting Faculty/Critic of Various Institutes including National Institute of Technology, Rourkella, IDEA College, Nashik, Bharti Vidyapith College of Architecture Mumbai, Amity University, Techno-India University, Om Dayal College of Architecture, Jadavpur University, Kolkata.

He is founder Partner of the architectural Firm ArcOn Design.

Please feel free to suggest  or comment. Enjoy.


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