Parents have role to play in education

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By Kefiloe Kajane

Pre-school teachers are coming up with innovative ways to assist caregivers in rural areas to continue home learning while on lockdown.

theReporter talked to different pre-school teachers on what they have been doing during the lockdown.

Pre-school teacher of Alwan Skop in Quthing, Benjamin Tumahole, said he constantly tries to come up with creative ways to produce material for learners to keep busy while at home.

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Tumahole said this is not easy since he has to make these things from scratch while still considering the level of understanding of his learners.

“I take boxes and try and make alphabets out of them or make something like a television out of the box that students – with the help of their parents – can use as an aid to study at home.

“We have to be creative because we do not have access to technology, so we need to be extra creative. It is really fulfilling to see that most of these students are able to engage with what we give them,” he said.

Another pre-school teacher, ‘Matlhokomelo Makake, said parents need to engage with their children because even though they try and give children study material, parents have to make sure they use them.

She indicated that many parents – when teachers send learning material via WhatsApp – protest that they cannot share phones with children and that they do not have money to purchase data bundles to access such material.

“I think what parents need to understand is that we should be helping each other here. The worst part is that they do not want to pay school fees although we take our time to prepare these materials for their children. It is sad that parents think it does not matter if these children do not get an education as they are still young. By the time they go back to school, we’re going to have to start them from scratch,” Makake said.

A fellow teacher, ‘Mareabetsoe Fani, said she has given up on producing material for students during the lockdown because parents refuse to pay her.

She said parents are adamant they cannot pay school fees because their children are not attending classes, so she had to give up because she was working for free.

Network of Early Childhood Development of Lesotho’s communication, advocacy and research lead Tṧepiso Makhetha, indicates that the organisation works with Unicief and the ministry of education to make sure that pre-schools are also paid attention to as they are an important component of a child’s education.

She said they encourage parents to realise that the education of the child is not only the responsibility of the teacher or government but their parents as well. She said they will be helping pre-schools with PPE and toilets at least to make sure they maintain good hygiene.

“We really hope with our radio campaigns we can reach out to parents and get them to understand the importance of taking the education of their children in their own hands instead of leaving it entirely to teachers, she said.