United Arab Emirates. Dubai. 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.
Akshatha Achar, Educational Consultant at Hale Education Group shared her views with Transcontinental Times, “Emotional intelligence and well-being are key to students’ success. This year, thousands of students across the country are slowly re-entering schools, and most of them are likely to have dealt with the stressors and anxieties that COVID-19 induced, or magnified.”
She added, “Teachers, counselors, and administrators must accept accountability for the creation of infrastructure that ensures that students thrive. At the systemic level, this entails the creation of a soft skills curriculum, the components of which would be geared towards inculcating emotional wellness, healthy relationships, and effective communication.”
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.
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.
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%).”
Kaleem also added, “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.”
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.
“Alarmed by the statistics, school systems around the world have placed student well-being front and center among education priorities. Leveraging technology to reduce workloads for the good of our teachers is the way forward. However, during the pandemic we learned that when not used efficiently, technology can increase workload while failing to produce positive academic outcomes. Organizations as ours, have successfully leveraged technology to reduce workloads and stress, allowing teachers to spend more time building meaningful connections with students, even in an online environment.” said Jeffrey Smith, Director of School Partnerships- iCademy Middle East.