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WALKING INTO A TRAP

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Sir,

I would first like to express my sincere gratitude for the undying efforts from the Government of Eswatini for trying to curb these dire conditions brought by this heavy-hearted coronavirus.

The people of Eswatini stand with you beloved leaders and support every decision you take. In as much as we are proud of the decisions you’ve taken so far, we are greatly disappointed by the latest decision of reopening schools. In as far as the importance of education is concerned, there’s absolutely no reason to put the health of our beloved citizens at risk.


Government has failed miserably to provide means for successful online learning and the question is, can we trust them with human life if they underperformed in handling a tiny necessity like online learning? The Ministry of Education and Training promised to provide online learning data bundles for tertiary institutions but they failed. They tried to teach through the media but this is not successful too because this strategy will never work in rural areas for reasons that were not considered before implementing it.

I have reasons to believe that the reopening of schools was a rushed decision, which might become the gravest mistake the country has ever made. Trust me, as parents we are not comfortable with letting our children out of our sight because their safety is not guaranteed. We are talking about learners, people who can hardly control themselves, so you cannot always say they will wear their masks.


Methods


Teachers have always been taught of ideal teaching methods and my belief is that those strategies cannot be implemented in a social distancing classroom environment. Teacher to pupil consultation will not be possible, group discussions will not be done too and this means that pupils are going to be lectured. The way I see it, learners are going back to school for meaningless learning. They will learn to pass and not to understand, and according to educational idealists, this is not the kind of education for the modern society.

This is not the appropriate response to regain lost time, teachers will be pressured to finish the syllabus on time, meanwhile forgetting the actual importance of teaching for understanding. Abigail Adams concurs with the fact that learning is not a known procedure with predicted results but a process of careful consideration. “Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended with diligence.”


The coronavirus trauma still exists and it is very much futile to say that citizens of Eswatini must have faith in luck for the safety of their children. When the country reported its first COVID-19 case, we were all appalled but now that the numbers are rising, we act so relaxed. I don’t know if parents’ consent was asked for before placing their children’s lives in danger. This is a global issue and it’s not affecting emaSwati alone, so we must try our utmost best to stay safe not to play with fire. Before all this goes south and parents blame it on government, it would be greatly appreciated that this decision is revised. There is absolutely no compensation for human life!

MWEST

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