I WOULD like to draw everyone’s attention to the predicament faced by all schoolchildren (and their teachers) over the last 16 months or so while we have been undergoing various levels of lockdowns during this Covid-19 pandemic. Face-to-face interaction between teacher and student has been forfeited and they have had to resort to online classes.
From my own observation of my two children, I have serious doubts about how much children are learning and I have no doubt at all that they are missing out on important aspects of face-to-face interaction with their teachers and peers.
No doubt all the teachers are doing their utmost to impart knowledge – and knowing it is also stressful for them, they have my utmost respect and admiration.
But let’s face it, there is only so much that can be done online. Otherwise, why the need for physical schools in the first place? These online classes are great in lieu of actual classroom learning, but can never replace it completely.
I can’t quantify how much has been lost in the learning of content or gaining of experience. However, it would be good if the government considers revamping the schooling year to begin in September and continue until the following August. For example, let the first day of school this year be on Sept 1 with the year ending on Aug 31, 2022.
Since every class will have to restart this way, there will be less impact on resources. This is, of course, easier than repeating the entire school year. We are in essence just adding several “bonus” months of learning done so far this year and beginning anew with the actual school term in September.
In the unlikely event that we have to prolong the lockdowns a few more months, we still have plenty of wiggle room and time ahead to conduct classroom lessons.
So those attending Year One next year will commence schooling on Sept 1, 2022. Likewise all the major examinations and intakes into higher education institutions can be adjusted accordingly.
At every level, from Year One to upper secondary, we must not ignore the effect of lost face-to-face learning time. What is lost will never be gained back and the impact might seemingly be small now but we do not know the effects years down the road. I seriously hope the government gives this serious thought.