Will parents are stressing, matric pupils feel that they need to return to the classroom as soon as possible.
WHILE parents in the Northern Cape are worried about sending their children back to school, many matric pupils believe that it is vital that they return to their classrooms as soon as possible.
Many schools in Kimberley showed no sign of activity on Monday, May 25 after the Department of Basic Education announced that teachers must return to school to prepare for the reopening of schools for grade 12 and 7 pupils on June 1.
Many matric pupils said that although they understood their parents’ and unions’ concerns over Covid-19, they believed that the classroom environment played a vital part in their learning.
“We are afraid of going back to school during the pandemic. We understand the potential dangers in resuming schooling. Many of our friends make use of public transport and will be exposed to the coronavirus on a daily basis. However, we also cannot just pretend that our learning has not been affected by this. We know the department is not going to automatically give the Class of 2020 a pass mark. We need the results to show at the end of the year that we have passed,” pupils said.
“Many schools have continued with learning online. That is wonderful, but then there are so many others who are not as fortunate and do not have classes online. Some schools halted learning for all grades when schools closed prior to the lockdown. We have to consider these pupils too. It is unfair that they are left behind.”
Others indicated that online learning had not been very effective.
“We received video clips from teachers where they explained a specific subject to us. We have also been given worksheets via WhatsApp and other social media groups. The challenge is that one needs that one-on-one interaction with the teacher to explain certain concepts. Watching a video or completing a worksheet does not give us that interaction. We have to work independently and there is so much of the work that requires an in-depth explanation from a teacher. Other pupils feel like this method of learning is preparing us for higher education but it is not very effective. Some of us are blindly completing work we do not understand.”
Others meanwhile said that they shared the same fears as their parents.
“I am so scared of returning to school. We were told to stay at home and avoid crowded spaces when the lockdown commenced. Now we are being thrown into the deep end. It feels like we are being used as guinea pigs to determine how coronavirus can be treated in children. I am worried about my health and that of my friends. We miss school and want to go back but this virus is making it challenging.”
Others said the Department of Education itself was not ready yet to let children return to school.
“The schools are not all on an equal footing. There are some schools that have better premises, resources and facilities – such as toilets and water – than others. We still have so many rural schools that have none of these resources. How do we leave those pupils behind and not worry about their health and their future? The parents from upmarket schools are also able to get better medical care for their children. The children in the rural areas might be far from a hospital if they get ill after being exposed to the coronavirus.”