By Muna Al-Fuzai
With schools and colleges closing or moving classes online to keep things going with the spread of COVID-19, many parents and students are exploring a new method – distance learning. But the concept seems disruptive and confusing. Some are wondering about the efficacy and success of this way of learning and testing, as it is differs from the old typical method of face-to-face contact with a teacher in the classroom.
Of course, this difficult time requires strict measures to ensure everyone’s safety, and right now distance learning is an effective method, because no one can predict when the virus outbreak will be over and students need to study and learn.
The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has assembled an online guide with links to distance learning apps. According to UNESCO, “an unprecedented number of children, youth and adults are not attending schools or universities because of COVID-19, with governments in 100 countries having announced or implemented closures. In 85 countries, schools nationwide have been closed, affecting more than 776.7 million children.”
Distance learning is a way of learning remotely without being in regular face-to-face contact with a teacher in the class. Kuwait is one of many countries that shut down schools from the beginning of March. Some schools in Kuwait have voluntary initiatives to teach students online by using social media apps, especially since the end of the school year is approaching and there is not much time left to complete the curriculum.
Most countries of the world adopt this modern method of education because of its advantages, but in Kuwait, there is no recognition of distance education. This method did not receive much attention before the coronavirus crisis, but the ministry of education has started to consider adopting this method now as it will contribute to resolving the education crisis.
Without a doubt, the distance learning process is required, but it needs visual materials, electronic sources and teaching methods that take into account the special needs of students and modern trends of e-learning. I believe that it is easy to gather all these elements by communicating with British universities, for example, to obtain more reports and information on the best means of e-learning in a relatively short period of time to set an action plan to manage this issue.
I believe that keeping kids at home without education in not right, and I hope they will return to school after the end of the crisis, even if it means going back to school in July and August, which are the hottest summer months, because we are in an extraordinary time.