The coronavirus (COVID-19) is a catastrophic illness that impacts nations’ education systems with varying income levels. Many pandemics have happened throughout history, affecting human life, education, and global economic progress (History.com Editors, 2021). On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic after it infected more than 118,000 people in 114 countries in three months. On December 31, 2019, the Wuhan City Health Commission reported the very first COVID-19 case in Hubei Province, China. The coronavirus pandemic is rapidly expanding, impacting 213 territories and nations worldwide. Approximately 375,060,378 total cases, 296,271,154 total recovered cases, and 5,681,215 total fatalities were registered worldwide through January 31, 2022, (Worldometers).
According to (What to know about coronaviruses, 2021), experts think that coronavirus is growing tremendously, and several nations are locking down their education systems and imposing a stringent quarantine on their citizens to stop the spread of this extremely dangerous disease. Governments prioritize the provision of equipment, the organization of medical institutions and laboratory facilities, the detection of the virus, the training of health professionals, and the creation of public awareness. Because education has been a cornerstone of development in every country, it is key to the growth and expansion of all countries. Several issues have impacted the school system, varying from the development of the education curricula to the closure of the education system owing to widespread pandemic illnesses. According to UNESCO (Clare O’Hagan, 2020), COVID-19 school closures affect 87 percent of the world’s student population. UNESCO is implementing distant learning techniques to reach the most vulnerable pupils. According to UNESCO, the COVID-19 pandemic school shutdown affects approximately 1.5 billion pupils in 195 countries.
In (Scientific Research, n.d.) COVID-19 impacted not only the overall economy and our daily lives, but also sentimental, mental, and physical health, as well as shortfalls in international and domestic business, the low-profit margin in the market, locked domestic and international traveling; additionally, disruption of cultural and celebratory events, stress among the population, and the shutdowns of hotels, food outlets, religious, and entertainment places. The economic collapse has come first in many poor nations, as governments have shuttered their economies to slow the spread of the virus. As a consequence, developing countries are facing the most severe economic downturn and shutdown of their education and transit networks (Haleem et al., 2020). Platforms, educational software, and resources are included in distance learning solutions to assist families, students, and instructors.
Digital learning management systems, huge open online learning platforms, and self-directed learning material are all examples of self-directed learning content. However, owing to a lack of internet access, information technology, educational resources, and digital technology skills in underdeveloped nations, distant learning is challenging for instructors, students, and families (Mustafa, 2020). Some poor countries, such as Sri Lanka, provide education through radio, television, and internet media. However, the lowest earners and pupils do not have access to radios, televisions, or other gadgets to access resources and study at home. As a result, several developing countries give books, radios, types of equipment, and reference materials to the poorest pupils (Mustafa, 2020). Moreover, all these impacts create mental depression and psychological shocks in students’ minds. In this study, the impact of coronavirus on the education system, challenges born from Covid 19, the recommended solutions about the continuation of the education during Covid-19, and online learning challenges have been reviewed and discussed. Covid-19 also known as coronavirus disease 2019 created by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). It was initially recognized in December 2019 in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province in China (CDC, 2021). The Covid-19 initially had a momentous impact on China was brought under control by lockdown and other social distancing measures immediately taken by the government of China with the record of the massive volume of deaths. It afterward spread all around the world, and it was more powerful in other countries than China. As of 13th January 2021, more than nine billion (92,301,617) cases of Covid-19 and a death toll of near two million people (1,977,619) have been recorded so far ( Worldometers, 2021). This new Covid-19 badly hit most of the developed and developing countries including the United States, India, Brazil, most European countries especially Italy, and so on. According to the records, the United States is the deadliest country, and India, Brazil, the United Kingdom, and other countries are next in the line. After acknowledging the global impact due to the new Covid-19, World Health Organization declared this as a pandemic on 11th March 2020 (Helen Branswell and Andrew Joseph, 2020). Most of the countries around the world declared a countrywide lockdown and strictly maintain social distancing measures to prevent the spread of this virus and presently they are not applying long-lasting lockdowns due to concern about their economy. Education is one of the most precise sectors affected by the Covid-19 pandemic across the world. In terms of the education sector, most of the governments agreed to temporarily close educational institutions, including schools, universities, and other public and private institutions to avert the social spread of the virus. Although it was a smart decision for the virus badly affected students across the world. Sri Lanka is an Asian country hit by novel Covid-19, the first outbreak in Sri Lanka was detected with a Chinese tourist on 27th January 2020, and the infected local person who was a tourist guide was identified on 11th March 2020. Afterward, the government immediately took measures to control the spread of this virus by using island-wide lockdown while the number of victims increased day by day. However, as of 30th September 2020, the number of cases was recorded at just 3374, although Sri Lanka has a population of about 21 million. It was a low percentage after comparing with the percentage of the population and other countries. However, on 4th October 2020, the second wave of Covid-19 started from the Minuwangoda and Divulapitiya cluster, and the government was reluctant to execute another lockdown because of fear of driving the economy into failure. Under these conditions, the Sri Lanka government closed schools, universities, and other related educational institutions. The government also executed an island-wide curfew on 20th March 2020. During this time, Sri Lanka’s education system faced various challenges. The closure of schools and other educational institutions finally impressed the teaching and learning activities of students. Every education-related activity was postponed temporarily due to this factor. After four months schools reopened fully and then closed again because of the spread of the 2 nd wave and there is no sign of opening for universities. And again, schools are closed until further notice, and they opened and closed within a few days. Then most schools and universities started their activities by using the help of most recent technological devices and applications during this period. The establishment of online education instead of the traditional academic model is taken as a structural change in the education system in Sri Lanka. We know that this is a new face for everyone, and it is a common face in other developed countries except Sri Lanka. For a long time, students and teachers have been practicing for face-to-face processes rather than this virtual practice. After a few months virus became different, and scientists identified that it created different variances. Now there are new variances are spreading within the country and the whole world and it became very tough to control. However, solutions are developed step by step and it is a vaccination that can enhance the immunity of the human body. There are different kinds of vaccinations, and their efficiency levels are also different like AstraZeneca, Sputnik V, Sinovac, etc. (Terry, 2021) According to this condition, the government took some measures to facilitate them to access their online platforms to continue their studies and other related activities. The government forced telecommunication providers to introduce new data packages to access LMS and other related applications like Zoom and MS teams. And they are commencing television and FM radio programs using government channels to access everyone freely. In addition, the government took measures to import covid-19 vaccines and has provided them without charge. Now everyone may be got vaccinated even single dose. Now peoples need to get 3 doses to reduce the risk of being a victim of this virus. Therefore, everyone may have a hard time during any pandemic because it is uncontrollable fact. The reason is for this research to identify issues facing while they are participating in virtual education programs and challenges, they face during this pandemic to regain their knowledge by using online education modes. There are a lot of challenges faced by students even before this covid-19. Furthermore, this research highlights other issues which students are facing due to this pandemic. This research will be useful to university and other students as well who are the most important role plays in that virtual framework to identify their weaknesses and what kind of skills, they need to be developed to continue their studies usefully and efficiently. This study mainly focused on challenges faced by students during the new COVID-19 situations.