Let us face the fact. Not all students are blessed with a private space, in their own home. A private space namely their own bedroom, where they can carelessly toss their belongings around, relax comfortably on their bed, or study at a proper study table.
Due to this, the struggles for poor students to learn remotely is real.
Students coming from low-income families often have to share the bedroom with their siblings, a stark contrast with the privileged few, who are a single occupant of the bedroom, well equipped with a laptop or a PC, with the latest webcam, state of the art, soundproof headset with a high-quality microphone.
When it comes to remote learning classes, which require students to go online with their teachers, lecturers, or instructors, a quiet personal space becomes a necessity. And with another sibling in the room, who also has to go online for classes, at the same time, sibling rivalry is inevitable.
Some would resort to turning their living room into a makeshift study area. Things start to look better for a week or two. Then, when everybody, parents, as well as older siblings, are also stuck at home and are forced to work from home, due to restrictions imposed in order to flatten the pandemic curve, a used to be peaceful and uneventful life of a student, can literally turn upside down.
All hell breaks loose, at a certain point.
Online oral assessments have proven to be a real challenge for many. A curious younger sister would peep into the camera, while the brother is in the middle of a nerve-wracking task of recording his speech presentation video. A nosy grandmother would suddenly appear behind her grandchild while she’s in the middle of a speaking test. A courier delivery guy would unexpectedly show up at the front door with a package to deliver. The mishaps seem to be endless.
Not to mention, parents who have to share their mobile phones with their school-going children, for remote learning classes. With the already mounting financial constraints, some parents have no other choice but to succumb to their children’s rhetoric and opt for purchasing a new mobile phone for their children.
Parents are seen at shopping malls with their children, browsing for a mobile phone. A father is spotted at a mall, appearing to be reluctant to even step into the shop. The child, almost dragging her mother into the shop, extended her finger shyly at the latest model, which was displayed on top of the counter. The price of that mobile phone would certainly burn a hole in his pocket. The idea of sparing quite a hefty amount to purchase a brand-new mobile phone for his child seemed unsettling.
Sensing her husband’s agony, the wife slowly coaxed their child towards the pre-loved mobile phones, displayed on the counter at the back of the shop. Slowly, her husband takes a few steps into the shop because he has no other choice.
The struggles of many, parents, students, and educators alike are real.
How long the struggles will persist is unknown. For those who have been made redundant by their sectors and those whose businesses went belly up, their struggles are further amplified. Despite the shortcomings and uncertain future for the entire family, they would not put their children’s education at stake.
May their resilience be rewarded someday.
Cover image sourced from The Star.