There is a great need to focus on the importance of students’ mental health and mental wellbeing 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 globally, but the trend should now be changed, the survey respondents recommend. Teachers are increasingly concerned about the impact of Covid-19 on the mental wellbeing 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.
Teachers suggest that communication (95%) and problem-solving (91%) skills as very important for students to learn
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 followed 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%).”
Kaleem added: “The survey findings are noteworthy, and managing mental wellbeing 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 emphasised 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: healthy relationships, emotional wellbeing, being kind, family and social values, morals and social interaction, anger control, spreading positivity, and emotional health.
“Teachers believe that soft skills will be most important in the job market over the next 10 years”
In line with the 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.
Kaleem said: “At EVERFI, we believe that our digital educational programmes enable teachers to deliver essential 21st-century skills to students in a unique and inspiring way and help them prepare their students to deal with future challenges. This research confirms the need for this type of resource and learning.”