Education in today’s time has become highly volatile due to covid-19. There isn’t a single segment of society that hasn’t been affected by the virus in some form. Children in their early years of life, who require a free and progressive environment to grow, are confined in their homes. They are spending a significant portion of their youth at home, clueless about their academic future.
Before we shed some light on how we should nourish the children in the present, let’s glance at some of the difficulties they go through in the online learning mode.
Study from Home: A New Normal or a Concern?
With the onset of Covid-19 and subsequent lockdowns, the student section also worked its way out to set up a study-from-home desk when the professionals proceeded to work-from-home. Day by day, the teaching-learning mechanism has shifted to online classes. Students of all age groups and social backgrounds are gradually adapting to screen learning, regardless of their say in it.
However, the childhood lost to the pandemic is something that very few people are aware of. Busy in acquiring formal education digitally, young kids might go through some extreme day-to-day difficulties, which must be addressed on time.
Challenges Faced by Students
Forced home learning might seem the best path forward amidst this uncertain time of the pandemic, but children’s actual growth and development might be threatened. Social distancing, lockdowns and school closures contribute to stress in children and can become risk factors. Children have limited opportunities for socialisation. School closures deny students access to education and minimise their contact with peers. The overall personality development, significant during the growth period, might suffer.
Several surveys have reported that many students are facing financial difficulties and a high degree of fear and anxiety. In addition, they feel confused and lost with the ongoing situation.
This catastrophic time of the pandemic has also given rise to more critical social problems such as a surge in child labour and exploitation. According to International Labour Organization, by the end of 2022, as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, 160 million children are at risk of being forced into child labour.
The sudden shift from offline to online education mode has granted only limited time to prepare students for this change. For some students, the process of learning on screen might not be the best experience. Their brain might take a longer duration of time to grasp certain things. Furthermore, as some subjects need practical implementations and need to be performed in laboratories for better understanding, these kids might lose interest in the subject itself.
How will we ensure that the precious childhood of millions of children does not get disoriented during this outbreak? What are the means by which a child gets motivated to stay on track in his learning journey?
Resolving the Hurdles
Role of Guardians
It’s crucial to remember that children seek adults’ advice on how to cope with stressful situations. Parents and caretakers must assist their children in adjusting to the new normal. The remedies include keeping children active, safe, and up to date on schooling as much as possible.
Providing children with suitable preventive measures, communicating with them about their distress, and giving them a sense of control over their infection risk can all help to alleviate unease. Remaining calm, listening to them and providing comfort will go a long way in nurturing childhood in online education.
Guardians should set a defined boundary between study time and provide children with some space for other recreational activities. Help them discover new hobbies at home. Teach them some contemporary art, crafts and culinary skills. But, above all, parents should become the best counsellor for their children when they need their support.
Role of Technology
Taking advantage of the many online learning tools that are currently available for free, children should be encouraged to spend some spare time on co-curricular knowledge. In addition, connecting with the school’s administration and faculty will help students with assignments or academic activities. There should also exist online education solutions that keep the students engaged with their studies.
None of this is simple, but staying focused on what is attainable helps to reinforce a sense of control and reassure kids that they are fine and that things will improve.
Students, especially school kids, are experiencing a whole different form of learning mechanism in this ongoing pandemic. While most children will cope with their apprehensions with the help of parents and guardians, some students might be at risk for more severe symptoms.
Childhood is a crucial time in any person’s life since it forms the foundation of their personality and emotional resiliency. So, let’s take a pledge to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on those who need it the most, the children.