Government comes up with homeschooling concept as academic year nears half wayExperts find conflict between plans to reopen schools and to employ a family focal person to make virtual learning effective.
Amid reports that virtual learning hasn’t been effective at the school level, the government has come up with a homeschooling concept, assigning a senior member in a family to facilitate the learning process.
The Centre for Education and Human Resource Development, under the Ministry of Education, developed the guidelines with the vision to assign the elders and educated members of the family to teach the children at home.
Home schooling will be applicable in places where resumption of face-to-face learning is not possible. The Central Covid-19 Crisis Management Centre allows the operation of schools after obtaining permission from the District Covid-19 Crisis Management Centre. However, resumption of schools across the country is not possible immediately and public health and education experts have cautioned against conducting teaching-learning activities in the physical presence of students.
“The homeschooling concept is designed to make the teaching learning process effective when in-person learning is not possible,” Keshab Dahal, director at the centre, told the Post. “We hope it will increase the learning achievements of students.”
Among the elders and the most educated members in each family a home teacher will be selected by the principal or other teachers of the schools where the children study. Such home teachers will be oriented by the teachers in guiding the students.
The representatives from respective schools will help make a corner in the house as a study centre where the teaching-learning activities are conducted. The home teacher will support the children for effective learning with support from teachers and the virtual classes. Home teachers have the responsibility to prepare the timetable and contents for study every day to ensure that teaching-learning activities are organised in a coordinated manner.
As per the guidelines, a teacher will be allocated for every locality to facilitate the homeschooling process. It envisions mobilising teachers in a way that each home teacher gets to interact with the school teachers at least once a week. The stated concept is to make home the first and an appropriate learning centre.
“Homeschooling will prove beneficial not just during the Covid-19 pandemic but also during other disasters,” read the guidelines. The guidelines state that students can complete the specified course of study if home teachers facilitate the teaching process by taking the virtual programme in reference.
Studies conducted last year found that virtual learning has not been effective. A study by the National Campaign for Education, an umbrella body of over 300 organisations working in the education sector, in December last year showed that virtual learning was ineffective for 64.3 percent of students surveyed. The survey carried out among 770 students, guardians and teachers from various districts of the seven provinces shows self-learning among students was not satisfactory. The survey listed two reasons for the ineffectiveness: first the students didn’t have access to such a learning platform and, second, virtual learning didn’t interest the students.
The Child and Family Tracker Survey carried out by UNICEF last year said over two-thirds of students were deprived of virtual learning opportunities. The study covered 7,500 households. It showed that the poorer the household, the less likely it is that children have access to or use distance learning. Around 7 million children study in 36,000 schools across the country. Around 80 percent of them have been admitted to some 29,000 public schools.
Education experts say homeschooling isn’t a bad concept, but the move to prepare the guidelines at this point shows the government’s adhocism.
“The government plans to reopen schools on the one hand and it comes with a homeschooling vision on the other,” Binay Kusiyait, a professor at the Tribhuvan University, told the Post. “The concept should have been implemented at the beginning of the academic session.”