The WMO Global Campus virtual event on Responding to Challenges Beyond the New Normal, held online from 20 to 22 January, gathered over 175 participants to develop action plans to address COVID-19 related challenges in education and training. The first day of the event addressed the coordination of training decisions with the WMO Strategic Plan, alignment with the WMO Competency Frameworks and Qualification standards, and referencing and use of key WMO guidance, while the second day consisted of presentations on coping strategies during the pandemic.
In advance of the event, those who registered for the event were invited to submit a list of education and training challenges due to the pandemic. A group of facilitators then classified the list of 95 challenges received into 10 main themes for group discussions during the second day. The second day started with 20 presentations by education and training partners on their strategies for addressing the pandemic challenges. In additional, seven posters on the challenges and strategies implemented were uploaded for consultation. Training and education without face-to-face classroom interaction was a common challenge for all. Other challenges included:
- handling technical issues and the lack of infrastructure (particularly low-quality network connections)
- conducting assessments at distance
- availability of subject matter experts trained to design and deliver distance learning
- providing training on the use of meteorological instruments.
The breadth of innovations implemented in response to the challenges highlighted the importance of having a well-defined competency framework, the effectiveness of distance learning for reaching broad and diverse audiences, and the value of partnerships for fostering collaborations and support between training providers.
Following the presentations, breakout groups discussed strategies to address the challenges that had been grouped under ten main themes and to devise courses of action.
The strategies highlighted the impact of the WMO publication on Global Campus Innovations (ETR-No.27) on education and training partners. The application of knowledge and methods acquired during the WMO course on Education and Training Innovations (2020) was frequently mentioned by participants when explaining how they are responding to challenges and improving the quality of education and training.
Thirty-two institutions in 33 countries, including WMO Regional Training Centres, education and training partners, and National Education and Training Focal Points, participated in the event. All resources shared during this WMO Global Campus Event can be accessed at Responding to Challenges Beyond the New Normal: A WMO Global Campus Collaborative Webinar. The outcomes from the event will feed into the Symposium on Education and Training (SYMET-14) to be held later this year.