Alex Mbonabi Ilukena
The emergence and outbreak of the novel coronavirus set the whole world at a standstill and shut down all the facets of life disrupting day-to-day activities inclusive of Namibia. The disease, initially observed in Wuhan city, Hubei province in China and declared a global pandemic, a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in January 2020, has afflicted humankind in many aspects of life.
This strange and invisible disease has spread abruptly and expeditiously around the world. Dismally, the disruption of the Namibian education sector by the sudden transition from traditional to online teaching and learning without warning is quite distressing. Conveniently, online teaching and learning is not limited and confined to the classrooms, it takes place over the internet anywhere and everywhere. Besides, other advantages are flexibility, self-discipline and sense of responsibility. Additionally, teachers have more time to support learners, plan lessons and design effective activities for teacher-learner interactions.
Contrarily, parents are now actively involved in home schooling, juggling among supervising online learning, their own private work and caring for the family. Does this imply that all parents possess pedagogical, subject content knowledge and skills to take the role of teacher? Aside from this, other challenges are lack of smart phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, internet connectivity and skills to create ways for their children to socialise. The transition to online teaching and learning has brought about the review of academic calendars, innovation and regeneration of the teaching fraternity. Congruently, the quick and effective response by the Namibian Government needs to be extolled and lauded as the teacher-learner ratio dilemma has been relatively solved. Consequently, the enactment of the lockdown protocols reduced the transmission of the coronavirus.
The transport sector has also suffered grossly financially as there were no passengers to be ferried from one place to another. While the prohibition of alcohol resulted in the reduction of crime, road accidents, unnecessary expenditure and debts. The home confinement also encouraged family bonding and interaction with children.
To contain the virus, quarantine and isolation facilities were urgently set up and equipped to the required WHO standards. Unfortunately, as the economic and social impacts of Covid-19 amplify, the mental well-being of humankind suffers. Synoptically, coronavirus is briskly spreading and Covid-19 protocols should be adhered to as stipulated in order to curb the disease.