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  • Writer's pictureSimon Sakala

The Absolute Necessity for an Education That Endures in the Wake of the Covid 19 Pandemic.

An Education That Endures (ETE) is that which provides the right mindset and skills that remain relevant despite rapid change. The most important skill is the skill to learn. The hallmark of Education That Endures (ETE) is the development of learning habits. A learner who is one by virtue of having the habit to learn will not only manage but will actually excel during the closure of learning institutions in the effort to curb the spread of the COVID 19. The current situation is a wake up call to the education fraternity. Most educators have heeded the call and are making necessary adjustments but unfortunately there are a lot more who are just waiting for things to get back to normal and go to business as us

I had a long discussion with my brother in Zambia Annaniah, via ZOOM, who provides me with data with regards to the state of the education system in Zambia. Annaniah is a data enthusiast and researches widely on education and education technology. He, with his partners, have developed an e- learning platform which was one of the eight selected out of more than 500 entries across Africa by the South African based Ed-Tech incubator, Injini.

Annaniah pointed out the two greatest challenges facing the learners in Zambia and perhaps in many other parts of the world are the ATTITUDE towards learning and ACCESS to learning either to a human educator or a device that can deliver learning.

In my own experience through my own efforts to try to help, i have come to the conclusion that ATTITUDE is the bigger of the two issues. This means that providing access through learning devices is not likely to help much. Here is the reason why.

Very little is being done with any sort of currently accessible materials such as notebooks or textbooks by the majority of the educators. More so now that the role of educators falls into the hands of parents. Instead of trying to help using whatever materials are available, most teachers are having what Annaniah calls 'Christmas'. in other words, they are on holiday until the pandemic is over. After all, they still get paid anyway.

And most parents are doing absolutely nothing in terms of helping their children with school work. One cannot blame most of them because they are not in a position to do so for various valid reasons or simply cannot provide the environment conducive for learning. However, a great number are not doing what they could do, but simply waiting for the mighty government to come and do something for their children.

The best learning gadgets cannot do the trick if they are not utilized properly. The learners that already have developed learning habits are the only ones that are most likely to make full use of the gadgets designed for individualized learning. Gadgets in the hands of learners that cannot learn on their own is a sheer waste of resources.

The greatest hurdle that any effort to propagate the concept of ETE faces is not that it is hard to raise children that have learning habits. Rather, it is a lot harder to develop the educators who are capable of raising children with learning habits.

The starting place for the process should be the aim to change the attitude towards learning, especially of children. Educators, parents included, should focus of first of all, changing their view of what their main objectives and role should be in the education.

For learners to develop learning habits, first of all, the environment must be conducive for learning. Children in most households are exposed to 24 hrs of non-academic television. Most children do not have their own rooms where they can quietly study. Furthermore, parents in most households are not able to help their children either because they do not have adequate education or they simply do not have time to do so as they have to work to earn money for the household.

Since most households do not provide such an environment, each NEIGHBORHOOD can provide an education center, equipped with learning tools and materials in form of electronic gadgets or books where children can go for specified periods of time to learn.The education center should be manned by a skillful guide or cheer leader to manage the learners and make sure they make the best use of their time their. The guide should manage the learners using the following simple guideline.

1. Set learning goals for each learner achievable during their time there.

2. Motivate the learner to achieve the goals within the specified time..

3. Monitor the activities of the learner.

4. Assess the learner.

I, through TEEBS, can provide comprehensive training to the education center guide via ZOOM meeting or webinar.

This should especially be a must in the post COVID 19 era. During the current pandemic, the education centers can be scaled down, to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Any concerned teacher or parent can take up the role of opening the center either in their home or elsewhere and then try to garner support for the project. TEEBS will support such an effort if the necessary conditions are met.

TEEBS will also provide training and guidance on how to impart an education that endures to learners. An Education That Endures is an education that provides the right mindset and skills that remain relevant and applicable in spite of the school closures due to the COVID 19 pandemic. The most important skill needed is the skill to learn.

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