Silver lining in the era of COVID19 in Eswatini
Temakhonkosi, 17 years old, is attending form 3 classes on radio and TV during the school closure in Eswatini.
“The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted our way of life and more particularly interrupted our access to education. I am very grateful to the Ministry of Education and Training for their concern about our education and providing us with a new opportunity to learn through radio, TV and newspapers as we prepare for the external Examinations.” These are the sentiments of 17-year-old Temakhonkosi a Form 3 student of Ngcoseni High School, Cana, Eswatini.
UNICEF supported the Ministry of Education and Training to implement distance learning through various media including radio, television and other digital learning platforms to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on learning, targeting external examination levels (Grade 7, Form 3 and Form 5). The distance learning has been ongoing for the past three months, following the closure of schools in March 2020.
Young Temakhonkosi applauds the teachers who have volunteered to facilitate the distance learning but is quick to observe that this method of learning is not reaching all children. “Some students do not have electricity in their homes, nor do they have radios and Television sets. Such children are missing out on the exciting lessons that I enjoy every day” lamented the 17-year-old girl. She further mentioned that some parents were not supportive of the distance learning. They did not give children enough time to participate in the lessons and expected them to help with household chores whilst lessons were in progress.
“Some students do not have electricity in their homes, nor do they have radios and Television sets. Such children are missing out on the exciting lessons that I enjoy every day”
The intelligent young girl recommends that the ministry should ensure that schools open soon so that all children can enjoy their right to education. She also suggests that a feedback mechanism should be put in place on the assignments that are currently done through the distance learning platforms.
UNICEF and the Global Partnership for Education are supporting the Ministry of Education and Training to mitigate the impact of school closure through distance learning.
UNICEF is also supporting the Ministry of Education and Training to develop Standard Operating Procedures to guide school opening and training of COVID response teams for the schools.