Home-schooling – the reality

 

A chara, – The nation’s children will have missed most of a year’s schooling since last March due to the lockdowns instituted by the Government on the advice of Nphet.

The nation’s teachers are doing amazing work uploading and checking students’ lessons, getting to grips with new ways of teaching and technologies, all of which increases their own workload.

However, the results of this massive experiment in home-schooling a nation will be varied. On the one hand, many families will take an active interest in their children’s education, and will have the freedom, educational background, competence and resources to help their children to the fullest extent. Some children will benefit enormously from all this personal attention and family time.

On the other hand, you will have the opposite situation. Families where both parents are still obliged to work; families whose parents themselves do not have the educational level to understand the lesson requirements or how to help their children, beyond perhaps telling them to “do their lessons”; families who do not have the internet or technological resources. Now the nation’s inadequate broadband is more exposed than ever. Networks that were already slow by international standards have ground almost to a halt in some places at certain times of the day thanks to everyone being told to work from home. Then there are the families where the home environment is simply not conducive to any kind of study, no matter what laptops or technological resources the Government offer, and where the problems are of a different order. For such kids, school represented a break from that environment.

One logical result of this ongoing situation will be a generation where the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots”, those equipped to face the challenges of getting into university, getting a job and avoiding further marginalisation, will be widened all the more.

The “credit” the nation is living on is more than just economic. – Is mise,

NICK FOLLEY,

Carrigaline, Co Cork.

Sir, – I am a special-needs assistant (SNA) working in a secondary school, and I cannot comprehend the denying of special needs students their right to an education. For many students with special needs, the loss of routine will lead to regression. Many students cannot understand why they are not allowed in school. For many students, Zoom proves unsettling and upsetting.

Special-needs teachers and SNAs are trained individuals who can utilise personal protective equipment and actually protect themselves and others.

We can access the various information and help with our own health and wellbeing. Who is going to help special needs students’ mental health and wellbeing? I don’t think a Zoom call is going to cut it. – Yours, etc,

AOIFE

HEANUE-O’TOOLE,

Clifden, Co Galway.

Sir, – Why are parents (mostly mothers) expected to “home-school” their children when this is a completely unrealistic expectation, especially for those also working full time from home? Where has this expectation come from? The Government would do well to spell out to parents what is expected of them – to take the burden of keeping up with the school curriculum away from parents and put the whole national curriculum for primary and secondary schools back a year. – Yours, etc,

SIOBHAN O’HANLON,

Kilpedder, Co Wicklow.