So, it’s happening. Schools and colleges are now closed in countries like Pakistan and India due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. Yesterday one of my students texts me ‘Sir when our classes will be commencing? And do we have our final exams?’ Similar, questions are asked by parents as well. Everybody is now concern about the recent educational disruption that is happening in different countries, and nobody knows the deadline for this disruption. The question is, how students can continue their education amid such pandemic emergencies, and what role does parent should play in it?
Since the outbreak of Coronavirus in February 2020, the effected countries haven taken some serious measure to stop its spread in vast scale. Closure of public gathering spaces is one of the steps. Hence educational institutes are the first in the closure list as children and old age people are the easy prey to this virus. According to a new U.N. report, nearly 300 million students worldwide are affected by the educational disruptions. However, now schools are exploring everything from take-home projects to partnerships with local media. In some countries like France and California, schools are partnerships with local public television and invite teachers to teach students remotely. These programs are accompanied by lesson plans and take-home assignments for students to complete
Similarly, in Pakistan, schools are using Google classrooms and Edmodo to deliver tasks and worksheet to students to complete them at home. Teachers and school administration are now working from their homes, planning and discussing assignments over Zoom meetings. Parents are happy that the government and schools are taking active measures against that disruption. Everything looks now reasonable and convenient, does it? Even though it seems easy and workable but there are certain reservations and limitation to this type of solution, for example:
- The issue of access and equity: Not all the families in Pakistan have internet or computer facilities at their home.
- Not all the teachers are familiar to the modern online pedagogical tools like Edmodo or Google Classroom.
- Not every parent is prone to these technologies.
- Not all the teachers, especially new moms and dads, are happy and convenient to work from home as there can be much disturbance at home rather in the office.
- Students can easily plagiarise or cheat over online assessments and test.
- For some parents, its difficult to even understand the online task due to its technicalities.
In all my years of teaching, I realise and learn one thing that ‘Technology cannot be contained or involved in isolation’. The user or the facilitator has to involve in the process to have successful results. I believe the above concerns can be resolved when:
- Parents and teachers should start familiarising themselves with the latest technologies by taking short online courses
- Schools and government take the necessary steps to make the internet available to every student and their families.
- The work from home hours should be flexible enough for the teachers and school admins.
- Computer-based teaching and learning awareness programs should be developed and broadcast by the local authorities over national T.V.
It is time to not only make our kids aware of the things that are going on around them but to make ourselves aware of the things which many of us take it for granted. For example, health and technology.
Following are links to some informative topics
Good luck 😊