The onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has spurred the transition from person-to-person to virtual learning. As the pandemic eases down with vaccine rollouts and as countries reopen their borders, the education sector also starts bringing students back to campuses around the world.
Education Amid the Pandemic in Peru
In Peru, where a megadiverse people and culture exist, COVID-19 is no small matter. Peru is recorded as the country with the highest mortality rate per million persons in the world, and the fifth-highest death rate in absolute numbers.
Peru’s health care system has been largely overwhelmed by the number of coronavirus cases, but the country is doing its best to administer COVID vaccines as quickly as possible.
Like in many other countries in Latin America and the rest of the world, Peru’s education sector has gone through many changes during the pandemic. Its academic institutions faced numerous challenges, especially when it comes to the delivery of lessons. Shifting from face-to-face instruction to online learning has not been easy for both students and teachers. For many students, purely online learning isn’t enough.
Hybrid Learning: The Students’ Choice
In the last quarter of 2020, the Instituto Superior San Ignacio de Loyola (ISIL) conducted a survey to highlight Peruvian attitudes toward online education. There were 600 respondents across different age groups, economic backgrounds, and educational levels (from technical education to doctoral).
Nearly 64 percent of survey respondents said they prefer a mix of on-campus and online learning as a permanent course of instruction post-pandemic. Twenty-nine percent of respondents leaned toward on-campus learning, while only 7 percent wanted a fully online study experience.
The survey results show that Peruvian students prefer hybrid learning so they can have the best of both worlds, from convenient and interactive online solutions to face-to-face interaction and mobility. The study also indicated that students found online education in Peru to be highly satisfactory.
Attitudes Toward E-Learning in Peru
The ISIL survey also found that online courses are the preferred alternative among the online education options, particularly among millennials. This set of users (aged 32 to 35) had a significant demand for these courses in 2020.
For the survey respondents, the top three factors that would determine their choice of an online course are the following: the certification or end qualification they would receive (64 percent of votes), followed by the price or course cost (52 percent), and the teacher’s reputation (34 percent). Course modality and duration are not as important to these students when it comes to online course selection.
The survey results indicate that students value an online course that expands their knowledge or develops the skills they need in a job setting.
The ISIL survey also found that 51 percent of those who haven’t experienced studying online are willing to give it a shot.
The Future of Hybrid Learning in Peru
The health emergency brought about by COVID-19 highlighted the benefits of using online tools for education. However, access to the internet and electronic gadgets remains a big challenge, particularly in rural areas.
Despite this, Peruvian students appear to be enthusiastic about e-learning and, for the most part, have had a favorable experience with online classes. They are also keen to return to campus with their peers and be able to discuss lessons with their teachers face to face. While e-learning does offer a means of lesson delivery and skill-building in Peru, it needs to be balanced with safe and suitable in-person interactions to preserve vital relationships with learners.
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Canales, J. (2021, June 23). E-learning in Peru: experiences and expectations. EFMD Global Blog. https://blog.efmdglobal.org/2021/06/23/e-learning-in-peru-experiences-and-expectations-2/
Peru: COVID situation remains critical in the worst-hit country | MSF. (n.d.). Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) International. Retrieved August 27, 2021, from https://www.msf.org/peru-covid-situation-remains-critical-worst-hit-country