The impact of COVID-19 and remote learning: ‘Student Voice’ writing competition finalists announced

The competition, the brainchild of technology platform Education Perfect (EP) ( and TBS Next Gen (, was launched to encourage young writers to express their views on the future of education, and the impact COVID-19 has had on their lives during 2020.

Five finalists have now been selected and published, with voting open to the public and the overall winner to be announced on Monday 16th September. The winner will receive a 6-month mentorship by TBS’ Editor-in-Chief, Mathew Mackie, and a monthly article featured on TBS Next Gen.

Students from K-12 from Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia submitted articles from one of the following themes for judging:

The role of technology in education
The future of education, or
The experience of learning during COVID-19

On the calibre of entries, TBS Editor-in-Chief and judge, Mathew Mackie, said “[w]e’ve been astonished by the quality of the pieces submitted, and selecting five finalists was extremely difficult.

“Every entrant should be very proud of their work, and should continue perfecting their craft. The future of writing is very bright.”

In her piece titled ‘The reality of education during a fatal pandemic,’ for example, finalist Charlotte Wells captured vividly the relatable monotony of lockdown: “Catch up on work. Feel stressed but do nothing about it. Return to bed. Contemplate life. Stress about our future. Out of bed. Eat something. Keep eating. Stressing. Thinking.”

New Zealander Madison Taylor reflected in her essay that ‘[d]espite numerous lockdowns, school at a distance hasn’t been so bad,” going on to say that online learning and video conferencing enabled her to overcome some anxieties she’d felt previously around actively participating in lessons.

“Like many of my peers, I’m pretty self-conscious,” she explained, “I’m nervous asking questions in class, especially with all my classmates watching. But lockdown did wonders for my confidence.”

Another finalist, Ricky Sarup, bravely called for a “reality check” to the education system, claiming outdated curricula does little to help teenagers discover their callings, or prepare them for life or university beyond high school.

“The education department needs to add a style of teaching where students are able to experience how a real job in a field would actually be, instead of the best-case scenario,” he believes.

12-year old Soneera Sunder received a notable mention from the judges for her essay entitled ‘The Role of Technology in Education’, in which she described the powerful impact of technology on learning, and even the environment, concluding that “[a]s technology is improving, we must change accordingly to have it sustained and to implement it into our lifestyles as well as changing the technology itself to suit our needs.”

“In a time of disruption and rapid change to teaching and learning, it’s so inspiring to hear strong student voices that can help to shape the future of education” added James Santure, Head of Product and Content at EP.

Finalists’ articles and voting information can be found here (

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About EP:

Education Perfect (EP) is a leading digital platform, enabling transformative online teaching and learning experiences to power the 21st century classroom. EP supports the engagement of students in online learning, provides effective assessment during the learning online process, and enables the collection and analysis of student feedback. With offices in Australia, NZ, and Singapore, and over 1.2 million students through over 4,000 schools, in 80+ countries globally, EP’s integrated smart technology enhances teaching and learning through curriculum-based content delivery and a ‘learner centred’ approach, improving learning outcomes and creating lifelong learners – for School, at Home, and at Work.

About TBS Next Gen:

TBS Next Gen shares the voices of the youth on the topics that are important to them. TBS Next Gen is a portal on The Big Smoke where student voices are heard, offering a platform to write non-fiction articles and voice their opinions on matters which are shaping the nation.

Media Release on 6 November 2020

Media Contact

Renee Gorrie, The Big Smoke Media
0433 485 165
The Big Smoke Media