Education Inequality in Times of Coronaby Bumaco LTD on 05/04/20
Lockdown has been introduced in many parts across the world due to corona virus. This has forced schools to shut down for unknown period of time in order to safeguard students from the pandemic.
In Tanzania, as in many parts of the world, the first action against the corona was closure of schools. This was a good move. However, the shutdown of schools has and is exacerbating inequality. Students from well-off families are able to continue with studies via technology while deprived students have been left wondering. This entry is going to address the inequality by trying to suggest means of covering the gap between well-offs and deprived students. A gap that is contributed by different social factors including the level of understanding and income.
Education is elitist hence can be oppressive as it produces classes within the society. Presently, this is becoming more evident when the world is in midst of a pandemic crisis. When schools are laid off the provision of education is left on household to maintain. Teaching at home is a dilemma for parents who do not have education as well as for those who do not see the importance of doing so. In addition, it can be very difficult for working people to find the daily bread and do the teaching. Given this situation, many are failing to provide education to their children. Although home teaching is a nightmare to some, there people who are fortunate enough to provide their children with online courses and appropriate guidance.
In his book, ‘Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance’, Robert Pirsig emphasizes the importance of engagement as a necessity for excellence. When the quality of our education system is wrecked up with the pandemic, the best way is to engage different stakeholders to save the quality of education. The quality of education is measured by the ability of the receivers to live to their full potential through engagement, virtue and wisdom. Thus, during this pandemic, we can engage in the following ways to uphold our education system:
First, the schools can provide material to students. The school system can still be used for distributing study materials to their students or students within their locality. Teacher can develop study material and provide copies which parents and guardians can collect. This won’t solve the whole situation, but it will reduce the problem especially for students who are deprived by study material. The community and social institution such as Church organisations can help morally or financial in supporting the schools towards material provision. The use of school as intermediary for provision of study material will help to occupy the teachers and students can return their work to receive a written feedback from teachers.
In addition, the Ministry of Education can co-operate with newspapers to provide a section or couple of pages with study material. The sections which includes study material can be provided free. This will create adequate supply of study material and it will also exploit the distribution channel of newspapers.
When there is enough material supply in the country, it will ease penetrate and reduce the gap. Though this by itself won’t be enough to reach to the most in need but it will reach to a significant group of students who need such materials.
Lastly, we can exploit the power of big society ‘third pillar’ to ensure that education quality is maintained. This will be achieved if every member of the society participates in whatever means they can by engaging students around them. While engagement is crucial to ensure the quality of education, we should also bear in mind the health advice and precautions which are provided by experts.
In these ways, we shall help students who are on risk of not returning to school because they would have been engaged with other life courses when the normal school routine resumes.