Education Post Lockdown: What Should Be The Priorities
How should educational institutions look at education post lockdown?
Opening of schools continues to be a worldwide debate. But the more important aspect is the mental health of the students rather than the educational goals when they return to a regular timeline and resume school. The schools need to make sure the children are provided support for their mental health. Mental well-being is as important as physical well-being. With the Covid-19 putting a halt to the regular flow of things and schools being shut down, once the classes resume, teachers should try to put the pupils to ease.
Priority for Playing
Besides the students missing out on education for part of the year and instead of schools trying to cover up for the lost time, the emphasis should be on providing students with opportunities to play and mingle with their friends. Students, especially in the early years and primary learn their social skills such as sharing, listening, following directives, negotiating, compromising, and co-operating from school. These social skills are lifelong lessons, and the Covid-19 has put restrictions on social interactions. Thus, once the kids get back to school, they should be provided with enough playing opportunities so that they can build healthy relationships with their fellow students and teachers. What students have missed the most is their friends and the interaction with the teachers, which helps them in developing their social skills and also regulating their emotions and respecting boundaries. Thus, post-opening of schools, schools have an important role to play and work upon the mental well-being of the students.
While older students do need to catch up on their studies, they should not be burdened straight away and crammed with learning. Schools need to come up with a proper plan and then catch up on the missed school time. First, the students' trust and faith in the world needs to be restored, and then the educational goals are worked upon and met.
What Do The Experts Say?
When Aamnah Husain, a Counselling Psychologist currently working at German Neuroscience Center, Dubai, was questioned about this, she too believes that the mental well-being of the students should be top agenda when the school resumes. "It is advisable to first attend to the mental health of the students," responds Husain. "Research suggests that stress, trauma and adverse circumstances can impact cognitive abilities and lead to behavioural issues which could then cause roadblocks in learning- prioritizing the mental well-being of students sets them up for better engagement, focus, attention, cooperative behaviour, empathy and cognitive ability."
Bilal Shadani, a Clinical Hypnotherapist/Psychotherapist at Maroof International Hospital, Islamabad, when was inquired about what should be the priority for schools, he emphasized both the educational goals and mental health. He says, "for the student's holistic well-being, there should be a collaborative effort from not just the school, but the parents and the schools to find the middle ground between both educational goals and the mental well-being of students." He further adds, "If the children are allowed to learn and grow as well as vent their frustrations, it will allow for a greater opportunity for them to overcome the associated challenges."
Life Post Lockdown:
Post the lockdown when the school resumes, let's hope that educators place equal emphasis on the mental well-being of the students if not more than the educational goals. The schools need to consider that students have been traumatized and hence they should make allowances and provide students with time and playing opportunities to settle in.