Oby Ezekwesili: why COVID-19 means preparing for the future now
The global pandemic has put online connections at the heart of how we work – online learning is more important than ever
The world feels like it’s in freefall while people across every industry scramble to adapt to new ways of working as COVID-19 impacts society across the globe. But Public Policy Analyst and Senior Economic Advisor Dr Oby Ezekwesili is urging both governments and individuals to seize the moment and get ahead of the game now.
No doubt, innovators will shape the post-pandemic landscape. While so much is uncertain, one thing looks definite. Online connections are more important than ever, and it’s precisely these connections that will propel our global economies back into action.
A shift in how we work
According to Forbes, the companies who’ll come out ahead beyond COVID-19 are the ones best able to use technology, not only to keep functioning, but to rethink their future business models, and fast-track digital transformation.
“Now that we see what COVID-19 can do, hopefully what is going to happen is that we are going to realize that a lot of our lives will depend online,” says Dr Ezekwesili, in this article.
With gatherings banned and social distancing in place across many countries, our workplaces have needed to adapt. And these changes are impacting colleges and universities, with many moving their teaching online. Dr Ezekwesili, who is also a Nexford Global Advisory Board Member, has long called online learning an opportunity.
Building a new world
COVID-19 may be the latest challenge to our global economies, and no doubt, it’s a major gamechanger. But Dr Ezekwesili believes that capitalism is long overdue a rehaul, and that it’s the innovators who must challenge it and build a new model that works for everyone.
“Capitalism has delivered materially better than all other economic systems that we know, in human history,” she said in this talk.
The former Nigerian Minister for Education and #BringBackOurGirls campaigner has spoken passionately about her support for education as a tool to counter inequality.
In 2018, Ezekwesili told TIME Magazine that education was the ‘new oil’. And in 2019, the former World Bank official launched a scholarship program aimed at Nigerian women in partnership with Nexford.
“Quality higher education is extremely important for young people to enable them to position themselves in a globally competitive world. So that they are innovators,” says Ezekwesili.
“The only way we can get out of the depths of inequality that cut across our continent is to offer opportunities for learning, for gaining new skills, for adapting to a dynamic world, to our young people.”
At Nexford, it’s no surprise that online will be at the heart of our world’s connections as we move forward from COVID-19. The world has changed over the last century, and it’s still adapting to this global pandemic. Traditional universities may have gone remote, but they’re yet to offer learning experiences born online, disrupting the status quo from the get-go.
There may be more barriers in our lives right now. Limits on who we can see, where we can go and what we can do. But remember, “With online learning there are no barriers, no rigidities,” says Ezekwisili.
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