• August 13th, 2020

Covid-19: The dilemma of parental home teaching

Josephina Mwashindange

The state of emergency, precipitated by Covid-19, has brought changes and challenges to the majority of Namibians, a situation that has impacted on people’s daily lives, as they have to include school activities in their daily schedule.
Home teaching was necessitated by the school calendar that has been affected by the pandemic thus giving parents and guardians an opportunity to teach their children from home. However, some parents do not have the requisite basic skills to teach their children, whereas some hardly comprehend the content in the school books.

“I understand that children are not allowed to come to school due to the pandemic and parents have to collect their activities from school even though I don’t understand the medium of instruction. Hence, I am unable to teach or assist with home works, apart from reminding them to do their activities,” confessed 71-year-old Rosalia Shikoyeni from Onanke village in Oshikoto region.

Shikoyeni said she has seven grandchildren enrolled at Onanke Combined School, three of them are in grade seven, two in grade five and the one is a sixth-grader. She reiterated that the only thing she does upon receiving the activities is instructing them to read activities with understanding and provide the answers on the space provided before she submits the work.

Moreover, the acting school principal, Helmi Negumbo, said the school receives materials in portions from the circuit office; however, some of this material is written in English, which poses a challenge to parents due to the medium of instruction. This compels parents to hand over this material back to teachers for translation into a vernacular language that the parents understand.

 “Before we hand out the activities to the parents, we give them orientation on how the activities should be done, we also advise them to call or send short messages where they feel they do not understand” explained Negumbo. Negumbo further indicated that this exercise is not easy as most of the learners live with their grandparents who do not have adequate educational background. 
Parents with smartphones have been receiving the activities on social media through WhatsApp groups, where learners download the activities and upload them back for marking by the teachers.

“Despite the fact that most parents find it hard due to lack of education, some parents are responding very well and we have divided the grades into groups of collection to avoid gatherings,” said Negumbo. 
In the same vein, the acting head of department, Eliphas Endjala, raised concern on the safety of the teachers at school, citing that the only sanitising method at disposal is hand wash with water and soap and the home-made masks that they fear are not effective.

Staff Reporter
2020-05-19 10:45:31 | 2 months ago

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