Humour soothing global panic

Humour soothing global panic

“Even though I was talking to myself, I am not crazy.  I am a homeschool mom, that was just a parent teacher conference” – Unknown
While this is one of the memes and quotes making rounds on the social media providing some comic relief and distraction during this trying time, deep down nations  are going into slow-deep  frustration of how they are going to survive the lockdown.

Hamster Videos, Purell memes among other creators, say that using humour and art is critical in bringing people together and soothing global panic. 

“…using art and humour right now is probably one of the most comforting things at times like this, it normalizes the situation we are in without really ignoring the concern,” Insider.com.

With most folk spending most of their social distancing and lockdown on social media, most Basotho are expressing their emotions via Facebook and twitter. One of the biggest worries besides survival of the street vendors, taxi owners and small business owners– as they earn on a daily basis – is their children.

“As parents, we will live through the 21 days, but what about the children? We managed to collect some study material for them (through websites shared by other parents through whatsapp groups or even via emails by some of the schools). For how long will they take the pressure of not being outside to play with their peers and being home schooled”, says one concerned parent. 

Most parents equipped their homes with a variety of games, books and study material for their children for the lockdown, but there are some who could not afford all that and some who the schools did not prepare anything. This may force children to get tempted to go out and play on the streets, ignoring one of the safety precautions of the COVID-19 pandemic – “stay home”.

The debate is whether homeschooling is better than public schooling for children or not – with an exploration of its advantages and disadvantages.  Some parents feel they are better teaching their children at home with all the material that is being sent to them by teachers. But what if this is not the case? What if there was no material being provided? Would some parents still find it conducive?   

“When doing it, one has to be a teacher first and secondly a parent in order to be patient and ‘not catch feelings’. My life could change drastically which might affect me psychologically. I already have a tutor helping my boys with some of the subjects and that works well for me, says one parent on social media.  

Tšolo Mopeli, as educator and owner of a pre-school says, “There could be reasons why parents want to homeschool their kids, lack of trust in public schools or maybe work related responsibilities. I don’t think highly of homeschooling for many reasons such as lack of social skills which are really essential in child development”.

He says that homeschooling is good for a child who would like to learn at his or her own pace, exploring topics that interest them. 
A teacher working at an independent pre-school says, “Teaching at an independent school, and yes it is a business, means that the school is solely dependent on its profits.  The COVID-19 is going to hit hard, bouncing back is going to be almost impossible because there are parents who feel the lockdown is giving them an opportunity to take their children out of the schools  indefinitely, as there is no guarantee that things will work out differently after this – that the virus will vanish. To them, as a safety measure they will rely on their nannies and home-schooling their children or finding other “safe” ways to educate them”.  

With homeschooling needing 100% of the involvement of parents, how then is this going to be effective for parents who work long hours – away from home? Although some parents may find it most befitting as it allows them to spend time together as families, it limits children’s opportunities to participate in competitions, sports and other extra-mural activities. 

She further says that the pandemic has raised so much fear that parents and guardians may write off school in 2020, therefore taking bread off other people’s tables.

At the institutions of higher learning, anxiety and fear live with those who are to graduate this year. Does this lockdown, which by the look of things may be extended going to affect them? Does it mean this semester has been cancelled? What recovery plan does the Ministry of Education have or the institutions alone have for the candidates?

Not only does this affect those who are to step onto the podium but those who had just started their internships in their different fields of study. If the lockdown does come to an end, the academic pressure will mount no doubt.

“The government made the right decision by locking down, as this slows down the spread of the virus. I however feel they should go back to the “drawing board” and find a way of meeting us all half way in different ways, I mean, look at Rwanda, Botswana….My biggest fear is that I have not heard the Ministry of Education address us in regard to the way forward, says M. Khotso, a Limkokwing University of Creative Technology student.  
She says that if Basotho would abide by the rules, then we would sure beat this pandemic, particularly staying at home, social distancing because COVID-19 is real, and it is the people that are moving the virus, it does not transfer on its own.

Litšeo Mosenene

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