Panel I.11 — The process of digitalization in the education field: opportunities and inequalities within schools and universities
Convenors Giuseppe Monteduro (University of Molise, Italy); Daria Panebianco (University of Padua); Sara Nanetti (Catholic University of Milan)
Keywords Inequalities; university; public policies; digitalization; right to education
The outbreak of COVID-19 with its containment measures and social restrictions impacted the school and academic systems across Italy in terms of relational features and resources exchanged between peers, methods of teaching and attending lessons, interactions between students, teachers, and professors.
The digitalization of educational programs and social life represented a substantial change. The sudden shifting in school and academic life highlighted some pre-existing inequalities and opportunities that seemed hidden in the pace of customs. At the same time, new inequalities have arisen and risk exacerbating the social gap, especially when considering the policies of study rights, which are linked to an obsolete academic model. However, the employed digitalization model has been helpful in revealing social needs related to school and academic life. Indeed, new inequalities and distinctions have become apparent, linked not only to education programs but to each student’s lifestyle as well. Therefore, a homogeneous academic system could exclude, and not include some social classes of students.
In this scenario, the panel aims to explore and analyze the main challenges about policy and policies to comprehend the traits of this alteration and to enhance the right of study. This transition from the pre-COVID era to the post-pandemic one opens a new scenario in terms of both inequalities and opportunities. What are the major policy challenges and policies for the right to education, and what are the proposals for education that have shaped this transition?
We will prioritize empirical or theoretical studies and research aimed at discussing, primarily but not exclusively, the following topics:
a) New inequalities and opportunities for Italian schools and universities.
b) A comparison of the social experiences of school and university actors.
c) Local, national, or international differences in policies and interventions implemented to address the pandemic in relation to the teaching methods used.
d) Best practices aimed at promoting greater participation in educational activities and addressing traditional and/or new social inequalities.
e) The dimensions that contribute to defining the scope of a reformulation of policies for the right to education in times of emergency.