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There is a great need to focus on the importance of students’ mental health and mental well-being during the Covid-19 pandemic time to deal with the uncertainties of the new reality they are in, according to new research in the UAE conducted by EVERFI Middle East. For decades physical health was one of the top priorities of educational institutions across the world but the trend should now be changed, the survey respondents recommend.
Teachers are increasingly concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on the mental well-being of children and young people. That’s the reason 100% of teachers believe that mental health should be something more strongly addressed in classrooms just as important as physical health, according to the survey findings.
EVERFI Middle East has conducted this survey with teachers across the UAE to understand more about their needs and priorities in light of the impact of Covid-19 and distance learning. The majority of respondents were following a British curriculum in line with trends in public school popularity in the Middle East.
Sheherzad Kaleem, General Manager for EVERFI Middle East, said, “We had the highest level of responses from classroom teachers (48%) in addition to a good mixture of roles amongst senior leadership (41%). The survey findings are noteworthy and managing mental well-being emerges as one of the top soft skills to be taught in classrooms during the pandemic. Teachers also believe that soft skills will be most important in the job market over the next 10 years.”
Teachers echoed that students need to be taught a range of soft skills. In particular, they placed the most importance on communication (95%) and problem-solving (91%) skills as very important for students to learn. The survey respondents also suggest some other soft skills for students such as healthy relationships, emotional well-being, being kind, family & social values, morals & social interaction, anger control, spreading positivity, and emotional health.
In line with the levels of confidence and importance that teachers place on these soft skills, only 36% of teachers felt confident to deliver these. As one teacher said, “These 21st-century skills are crucial for our students to become life-long learners, and if anything, the current pandemic has taught us that we need to be flexible and willing to adapt to change and be innovative in our pathways.”
Covid-19 has changed the world and there is no exception for the education sector. The pandemic has created new challenges for educators.