Empowering the next generation

By Naomie Happi

During this time of social distancing, staying positive is the top priority for many. To help cope with the anxiety of the pandemic, people have started to use this time as an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane.

Thinking back to the different stages of my life, I distinctly remember sitting in a small High School classroom with my schoolmates, complaining about how solving equations would not help us deal with any life problems in the future. At that time, we were completely convinced that our mathematics textbook was designed simply to provide us with stress at such a young age which was very often accompanied with an occasional headache and ultimately, resulted in us hardly ever opening the textbook. Thinking back to that time, I now realise two important things. Firstly, my classmates and I spent a huge amount of time complaining about the equations, instead of solving them, perhaps if we had focused more on doing the work, then maybe we would have enjoyed solving the equations. Secondly, I now realise that solving those equations, was not only meant to educate us on the various methods one could supposedly use to find the value of “x” but, was primarily intended for the development and nurturing of our thinking skills, so that in the future when presented with the complex equations of life, we could easily find the solutions. In a nutshell, this is the gift of education. The truth is, education is extremely important to the growth of any individual and is essential for the construction of a future for the next generation. However, the question we should ask ourselves today is, how do we educate our children during this pandemic?

COVID-19 has stormed through the world, wreaking havoc upon the lives of innocent people and negatively impacting the lifestyle of many. The general assumption used to be that children were the least vulnerable during this pandemic. However, in recent studies, it has been brought to the attention of many that the virus has indeed affected the lives of many children, by causing a tremendous disruption in the educational system. According, to UNICEF 1.6 billion children have not been able to attend school and researchers say this number is increasing as the pandemic ravages on.

As an alternative way of learning, children have been encouraged to use online platforms. Both Italy and France who have experienced the worst effects of the virus have started E-Learning courses by using online platforms and lessons are being conducted through a video conferencing platform known as Zoom. Other countries have also found different methods to help sustain the educational system. Ukraine has recently uploaded an online curriculum through the Learning Passport, which is a global learning platform aimed to help children and young adults affected by COVID-19 to continue their education at home. Whilst, Rwanda has been broadcasting on radio school scripts on basic literacy and numeracy. TV.MultiChoice in collaboration with Mindset Network have launched a Mindset Pop channel, channel 317, specifically devoted to preparing Primary school students for when schools will finally re-open. Zimbabwe has also joined the race in sustaining the Educational system, the Primary and Secondary Education Ministry, together with the Higher Life Foundation, will soon be offering updated free online educational material to students during the ongoing lockdown.

After discussing the different techniques companies and countries are using to help children to continue furthering their education, we can see that not all hope is lost. By educating one child we will soon realize that we have empowered a whole generation, to become better people, better developers, better scientists, better accountants and together, a better nation. However, just as charity begins at home, so does education. At the end of the day, we too should help educate the next generation, by ensuring they continue to study (making a study timetable could help you and your child keep track of the subjects studied and progress made), by supporting them (giving them words of encouragement is always a good way to keep them motivated and focused on their academic goals and dreams) and by sharing little doses of wisdom along the way. To conclude, in the words of Sir Anthony Seldon, “Education is a once in a lifetime opportunity to open children’s hearts and minds to the unbelievable wonder of the universe.”

Comment down below and let us know what tips or tricks you have been using to continue pursuing your education or to further the education of your children.

All pictures were provided by freepik.com

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