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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Are We READY for Online Learning?

By Dolapo Jenrola

Trust we are washing, praying and observing our social distancing. In the past 3 weeks, I've washed my hands with so much alcohol that my fingers are literally drunk. I can only imagine the stress some of you would also be going through now especially with your children at home. And so I thought it nice of me to share what I think we ought to be deliberating on regarding the way forward for our children's education and resumption. 

I'm aware some private schools resumed online yesterday. What a brilliant inevitable idea. Or is it? Indeed it seems like the right step in the right direction. 
However, I would like to point out some issues we need to thoroughly consider before your school/ child join this move:
I hope some schools are not joining this move because they don't want to loose their students to competitors. 

What exactly is the gain for school owners in this - love for the children or protecting their ventures? 
Are your teachers adequately prepared for this new role? 
Who provides the gadgets, especially the computer and also internet access, as this will require  a lot of data usage (Approximately 500MB/hour). I hope school management are not putting this pressure on the teachers. 
As school owner/management, have you taken time to study the class of parents in your school? Social status, financial capability, level of exposure, etc. Will it not be a waste of resources if only less than 50% of your students are willing, ready and capable to learn online?
What happens to the remaining 51% who are unable to join the online class due to one reason or the other?

Are parents (especially those working from home due to this pandemic) ready to be available to support their children learning
Can you trust your internet to support this online schooling? 
Is online learning a stop gap due to the pandemic or a substitution for the physical classroom learning this promotional term? 
How do teachers/school management ensure/acertain students' understanding of the topics being taught? 
The questions can go on endlessly. My take on this is that:

1. Online learning at this period is a very good and innovative step at this time. Which I think is inevitable if we want to ensure continuous learning for our children in these few weeks/months of lockdown. 
2. It should be a stop gap because not all students learn at the same pace and not all of them will be opportuned to attend online school. I doubt if the Ministry of Education will not still impose the normal school calender duration after the pandemic
3. Unnecessary pressures should not be put on parents who are trying to make ends meet during this period. How will a family with 4 kids in different classes cope with online schooling, with just 2-3 computers available, limited data, erratic power supply etc
4. I believe that it should be a personal/professional development time for teachers themselves. Teachers rarely go on leave, or attend trainings as much as parents in other sectors/career. I advice school management to compel their teachers to undertake online trainings for teachers so they can come back to school a better person. 
5. I know how tedious it can be for parents (especially mothers) having to tutor your kid couple with you own deliverables at work and home, but I believe this is the best time to bond with that child of yours. Request for the term school curriculum/scheme/syllabus from the school and be part of your child's learning experience. Get to know your child! Try to home school your child with assistance from your private (school) teachers. 

With these few points of mine I hope I've been able to..... Well, I hope you get the gist. There are so many variables to consider before we jump into the unseemingly turbulent ocean of online learning. The key point here is to count the costs before building a house. I rest my case. 
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Dolapo Jenrola 
Lead consultant 
Railuce Consulting
_Railuceconsulting@gmail.com

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