LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Parents, school managers should agree how to fund e-learning

Social distancing is the main reason why the school going children are still at home.

In Summary

• Some private schools have gone out of their way to run online lessons through different platforms. They deserve appreciation for this.

• Despite all the efforts made by the proprietors of the private schools to ensure learning continues, a few parents have voiced their displeasure and even sued.

Pupils display some of the Digital Literacy Learning Programme in Mombasa
Pupils display some of the Digital Literacy Learning Programme in Mombasa
Image: FILE

Covid-19 has significantly affected our lives. It has made us ‘equal’ in one way or the other. Irrespective of our status, we are all bound by the mantra ‘social distancing’ and ‘you are either infected or affected’.

The pandemic has also reared its ugly head into every facet of our lives. We can no longer interact as we used to do, our freedom of movement has been curtailed, social events have become illegal meetings, our cultural ways of doing things have suffered a major blow too. We are restricted from walking into eateries or joints to enjoy our favourite meals or tipple. Our religious ceremonies have also been affected as we cannot congregate to worship. 

Businesses have either wound up or halted their operations. Many employers have either sent their employees on compulsory and unpaid leave or put them on a pay cut. In some cases, some have lost their jobs altogether. All these are as a result of this unprecedented situation.

 

Social distancing is the main reason why the school going children are still at home. Amid this crisis, some private schools have gone out of their way to run online lessons through different platforms. Zoom, Google Team, Google Classrooms, See-Saw among other platforms through which many institutions are using to extend the e-Learning. They deserve appreciation for this.

Despite all the efforts made by the proprietors of the private schools to ensure that learning continues, a few parents have voiced their displeasure and even made a step further to sue the schools.

The aggrieved parents have cited ‘exploitation’ by the schools. Some of the issues raised are ‘high’ fees and the sending of the teaching staff on compulsory and unpaid leave. Why are we straining the relationship and the trust we had in the schools?

Unfortunately, parents have not put into considerations that for the online lessons to run, the proprietors have to re-adjust their systems. This comes with more expenditure. Do we all expect the schools to conduct the sessions on a free basis?  At the same time, however, we least expect the schools to ask for full school fees from the parents.

Are the schools charging full school fees? No. Has discounts been given? Yes. Will the teachers be paid? Yes. So, where will the salaries come from? Let’s have a sober conversation on this matter. Yes, the persons of interest are the learners, but inasmuch as the schools would love to have everyone on board, the new normal cannot allow that to happen.

It calls for both parties to reach an amicable solution to this impasse. Painting administrators of private schools as greedy and incentive is, however, uncalled for.

Awino, Syokimau