Let’s not blame COVID-19 for ed­u­ca­tion setback

It’s the re­spon­si­bil­ity of par­ents and guardians to en­sure that their chil­dren are back at school – no ex­cuses.

Fiji Sun - - COMMENT - NE­MANI DE­LAIBATIKI

Schools re­turn to nor­mal to­day and there is no time to waste to get things back on track. Dur­ing the lock­down, we were con­stantly ad­vised on how to keep up with our chil­dren’s learn­ing. Those who heeded the ad­vice were look­ing for­ward to to­day.

We hear of re­ports that some par­ents sent their chil­dren to the vil­lages and ru­ral set­tle­ments with­out any real su­per­vi­sion. It was like an ex­tended hol­i­day for the chil­dren.

It’s only nat­u­ral that as chil­dren they en­joy the un­fet­tered free­dom to do what they nor­mally could not within their home en­vi­ron­ment. The other con­cern was that they could slip into this false sense of con­tent­ment and lose in­ter­est to re­turn to school. We hope this has not hap­pened. If it has then it re­quires a big mo­ti­va­tional ef­fort to get them into the learn­ing main­stream.

We are already see­ing some red flags. Some are com­plain­ing that they can’t send their chil­dren to school be­cause they can­not af­ford to buy their lunches and are blam­ing COVID-19.

This kind of neg­a­tive at­ti­tude will not help in ad­vanc­ing their chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion. Let’s learn to sac­ri­fice for the sake of ed­u­ca­tion. Noth­ing else mat­ters at this point in time then sac­ri­fic­ing all we have for our chil­dren’s ed­u­ca­tion.

Not long ago we car­ried a much heav­ier load of ed­u­ca­tion cost like school fees. Now schools are tuition free and stu­dents do not have to pay bus fares.

Let’s do some­thing about school lunches. They don’t have to be all bought from the shops. They can be made right there at home with some imag­i­na­tion us­ing lo­cal re­sources, par­tic­u­larly where they are avail­able. Many healthy lunches are made from home.

It’s the re­spon­si­bil­ity of par­ents and guardians to en­sure that their chil­dren are back at school – no ex­cuses.

They should re­gard their sac­ri­fice as an in­vest­ment for the fu­ture of their chil­dren.

The Shree Sanatan Dharam Pra­tinidhi Sabha must be com­mended for of­fer­ing to pro­vide lunches for stu­dents who can­not af­ford them. This or­gan­i­sa­tion has been in the fore­front of ed­u­ca­tion in this coun­try. The owner of the Univer­sity of Fiji is again show­ing lead­er­ship and com­mit­ment in our na­tional ef­fort to make sure no one is left be­hind in ed­u­ca­tion, in a smart mod­ern Fiji.

A cer­tain amount of catch-up is in­evitable for the rest of the year. If we all pull to­gether, we can achieve our set tar­gets this year.

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