Thu | Jun 4, 2020

Homeschooling challenges parents

Published:Saturday | April 4, 2020 | 12:06 AM


With the current measures imposed by the Government to control the spread of COVID-19, I would like to pay special attention to the education sector and how it has affected the stakeholders.

We recognise that all must adjust their normal lifestyle in a bid to prevent the rapid spread of this virus. Students and parents are called upon to make major adjustments in their lives, and for some, it is overwhelming.

The Internet has now become the major modality through which teachers communicate with students, and this is posing a challenge with parents who complain that their smartphones are filled with messages of assignments for students to complete.

The students are saying that they are getting more work to complete in a week, as opposed to what they would get on a regular schoolday. I have heard a voice note of a parent who was disgusted by the frequency and number of assignments sent to her phone, and, in response, the teachers think that the parents are just ungrateful.

I understand the difficulties students face in changing their learning environment. School, for some students, is the place where they can get away from the hostile households in which they reside. When they get assignments to complete at home, they must contend with distractions that they do not have control over.

Parents need to be more responsible and support their children while they are at home. For some parents, it is a holiday and students have to be working in the home for most of the day with no consideration for them to study and complete assignments.

Teachers must also find the right platform to engage students while they are at home. Please be considerate in noting that some of the modalities use a lot of data plans and stop crowding phones with messages.

In the case of primary students, they do not own a phone, and when parents have to work from home using their smartphones, it is a challenge to share their phones with the children and be bombarded with messages constantly from teachers.

Teachers must plan before they send information, to limit the number of messages sent to these phones, and parents must recognise that they have to play a part in their children’s education in these difficult times.

One of the major challenges that students are facing is that of access to the Internet. Some do not have the access, and others who have access can’t afford it.

Commendations to the Government for teaming up with television stations to assist in this regard, and teachers who use their personal data plans to reach their students. Let us create a balance and work together.

Fabian Thomas