Children’s Day: Childhood disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic
Dimapur, Nov. 13 (EMN): The ongoing pandemic has caused a startling change of course for everyone, but the disruption could be felt more acutely among children or teens whose ‘normal life’ has now been robbed, with no guaranteed end to their isolation in sight.
Connections are made virtually and digitally, but this is no substitute for the warmth and immediacy of seeing their friends and loved ones in real life.
In a conversation with Eastern Mirror, the director of Prodigal’s Home, K Ela, shared that children are being compelled to live a ‘foreign lifestyle’, one which is strange and new to both children and parents alike.
In order to keep the children away from boredom, she suggested that there should be more guided outdoor activities and physical activities like dancing, singing, gardening, games and crafts.
Ela pointed out that with the introduction of online education, children have learnt much (good or bad) using information technology, ‘but unfortunately, the real learning in terms of content of texts, is compromised’.
She said that holistic learning has been affected and there is ‘no real learning’. According to her, there should be quality interaction and communication between teacher and students without bombarding them with ‘useless bookish information, but get real and practical’.
Atono Tsükru, mother of a boy who is in UKG, said that besides missing out on their academic lessons for months, children’s social life has been disturbed due to inaccessibility to school friends and their teachers.
She shared that though her son still eagerly waits for his assignments every day, “honestly I feel sorry for my son being unable to go to school, play with friends or even relatives”.
‘Though we cannot do much, we let him play with our dog who has become his best playmate, go for evening walks, watch TV etc.,’ she added.
She admitted to running out of patience and ideas when trying to keep her son entertained for the whole day. The pandemic, she said, is equally difficult for the parents.
Teachers’ point of view
Ruth Zholia, a teacher at Nazareth School, Pfutsero, said that it is impossible for her to accurately describe how much the pandemic has affected the children’s cognitive as well as other developments.
She said that the problems are numerous but the response from the institutions has also helped the students adjust to the changes and new challenges.
According to her, children are not only acquiring education but also becoming “conscious of all the rudimentary tasks one should posses”.
The teacher said that Children’s Day, celebrated on November 14 in India, is a ‘very auspicious day but our children will not have the same excitement this year’.
“However, I just want to tell every child reading this that they are special to teachers like me, and I am confident that teachers will be saying prayers as we observe Children’s Day in our homes,” she shared.
Weliso-ü Mero, an assistant professor at Phek Government College, also said that the pandemic has changed the way of learning overnight. ‘So the children need time to adapt to the new method of learning and we also sometimes do not really know how they are adapting to it,’ she said.
Mero maintained that teachers try their best to impart quality education in the best possible ways but they sometimes do not really know what the students do behind the screen (muted audio) and ‘we are not in a position to direct and control them’.
Some students sometimes take advantage of the pandemic, she stated, adding that question of honesty and integrity also arises when they face exams.
She also shared how the extracurricular activities are absent as only virtual classrooms are being conducted, ‘which is a great loss for the students to develop themselves in different spheres’.
“In terms of education, the pandemic has affected the rural and backward areas the worst, where there is no connectivity,” she added.