Tunatazama - Community Monitors

About our Children – Parents are under stress

Susan Moraba
The unequal education during lockdown

As the lockdown started when our children were finishing writing their March exams and it was the end of their school lessons then. Government schools/ public schools are in a hard time as children are not learning anything except the matric learners who are studying online via WhatsApp and what about the others grades, it’s similar to private or dependent schools where learners from lower grades to grade 12 are also using WhatsApp to study. Where my child attends, they circulated newsletters to parents notifying them that they should provide their children with smartphone, laptops or computers and internet in order for them to be able to continue with their studies, this happened after the long weekend of Good Friday. They also urged parents to continue paying school fees and as they depend on it for salaries, school maintenance etc. This is a problem, what about the costs of the internet and those who doesn’t have smart phones or any means of getting involved.

They start lessons from 9-2 others from 10-4 which means they need to discount us on school fees to enable parents to buy data because we can’t all afford.
The problem with online education is that as a parent you are also learning with your child because you need to be with him or her throughout the lessons so that you can assist after lessons with homework given. A lot of time is wasted as a parent because you can’t do your daily routine chores and all has to wait for weekend and as we put our children’s education first, we have no choice but support them. I am very sad with public school learners who are not doing anything, I feel very stressed because my grade 8 child is learning online from an independent school which they communicated with parents and am part of that as he learns even though it’s not easy, my other family members children who attend at public school doing Grade 5,6,7 and 10 are not on online studying and they have heard nothing from their teachers and to show that it’s hurting the Grade 10 learner wishes he had a study group or a smart phone to connect with other learners from private or independent schools so that he can catch up and that unfortunately is not happening, they might forget what they did during first term and All they do is play, he even feel as why can’t government provide all schools with tablets and provide data so that they can all learn to study at home just like other private schools do and they must program the tablets for all school subjects and dictionary, in that way they won’t be abused for other stuff.

 He said even if he takes his books and study on his own he is struggling because other work is new and it needs some guidance and lessons so he feels frustrated when he thinks about studying. My son on the other side he enjoys studying at home but he doesn’t see the pain and how worried I am about the cost of data. The nursery school child always asks when is he going back to school, all I can tell him is that schools are closed and I will let you know when they are open, for a child as young as 2/3 it’s easy to understand but not for the 11,12,13 and the 16 years old who are at school.
Its upsetting and hard but we have to cope with the situation.