Specialists discuss transformation of education during Covid-19 pandemic
On March 27, the FGV´s Sao Paulo Law School held a webinar on “Education: Reconstructing Paths, Learning from Adversities.” The debate was moderated by Marina Feferbaum, the coordinator of the school’s Center for Education and Research in Innovation (CEPI). The speakers were Oscar Vilhena Vieira, the school’s dean, psychoanalyst Heloísa Ditolvo, and José Garcez Ghirardi, an associate professor at the school, who is responsible for its Faculty Training Program for Master’s and Doctorate Students.
According to Marina Feferbaum, the webinar was structured to respond to the concerns of the FGV´s Sao Paulo Law School community and external stakeholders arising from the coronavirus crisis, including the future, sociability, fear of death, education and other current topics.
In the opinion of Professor Oscar Vilhena, the first thing that was notable during this crisis was people’s resilience and ability to adapt. “The most important thing was that society has been complying with the guidance proposed by science, which some people had recently been doubting,” he said. In his view, public officials who repudiated science have been forced to back down. On the other hand, those who used their institutional power to reinforce prudence and rationality have been strengthened.
Nevertheless, Vilhena warned that efforts need to be redoubled in a country like Brazil, since social inequality will make the public health crisis much more acute and dramatic for the poorest, given that in times of crisis the problems of a society, concealed during normal conditions, appear more forcefully. “Statements such as those made by Emmanuel Macron in France, based on the values of the welfare state, are important, as they are incommensurable values and not just costs. And simply placing them under market forces is irresponsible,” he argued.
Psychoanalyst Heloisa Ditolvo said that the crisis resulting from the novel coronavirus will open up possibilities for dialogue and moments of conversation.
“We are facing our fears, insecurities, anxiety, panic and threats of external and internal collapse, precisely because we are having to deal with very primitive feelings, such as the fear of death. And this situation puts us in a traumatic frame of mind, which makes it impossible for us to prepare,” she explained.
In her opinion, because of the lockdown, people’s feelings provoked by the disease are converging inside their homes.
“Therefore, social networks are now an essential tool, but the way they are used will change: instead of recording great feats, great achievements and great trips, social networks will now be used to care for each other, to create other types of help, to ask for support from others,” she said.
In Ditolvo’s opinion, this movement will promote empathy. “The disruption that the novel coronavirus is causing will strengthen us, while leaving some scratches and marks, and make us better humans,” she predicted.
During the webinar, Professor José Garcez Ghirardi started with the fact that people’s routines have changed and when routines are disrupted in such a strong way, people do not know how to act. “This break from routines is anything but banal,” he said.
In the field of education, the main impact has been the change in space. “We are suddenly all at home. This disturbs us a little because we build our personality based on a separation between the professional role and the personal or affective role,” he said.
The second impact is that leaving home causes people to have unplanned contact with others. “You have to deal with an otherness that you don’t completely control. And that otherness is important to us. The crisis has taken us away from the physical environment of the university and separates us from two things: we are no longer in the public, ‘productive’ space, and we no longer have unexpected contact with each other. This same change also occurs in time and this causes great distress in people, because it starts to give them the responsibility for this merger,” he explained.
However, according to the professor, the coronavirus crisis represents an opportunity for learning in academia. The bases of representation of our performance have been shaken, he said, but they are forcing us to face a technological transformation that was already under way in society. “This crisis seems to have boosted, to the point of irreversibility, the need to face the fact that we have had a profound transformation in the modes of production and our professionals will have to learn to act in this space,” he concluded.