The other day I was reading an exchange between my siblings on our family group chat. The gist was on the idea of sending their kids back to school as lockdown eased in the U.K. It seemed schools were not taking in full students capacity, and only early registered kids could get in. Basically a first-come-first-serve basis. If for any reason you missed registering your kids in one month’s entry, you would have to wait till the next month.
Now for context, my sibling’s kids are still toddlers. As you can imagine, kids that age are very energetic and need to be constantly watched. So for many parents, working from home while having to take care of kids is exhausting. On the other hand, there is a pandemic. Is it really safe to send your toddler back into society with a deadly virus still on the loose? #Sigh. It’s kind of like a devil and deep sea situation.
A few weeks ago in Nigeria, the government proposed to cancel W.A.S.S.C.E (West African Senior School Certificate Examination). At the time, I didn’t really consider the implications until I realised it meant students would be pushed back a year. Rather Nigerian students would be pushed back a year because they’d have to wait to take it the year after. Sigh.
As I said, it’s not exactly a black and white situation. Keep our youth back at home for a full year or default social distancing requirements. But what if there was a better way our government could have handled things? This pandemic, more than anything, has shown us that we can think outside the box and invent a new normal. For instance, we could have employed smaller spaces as exam halls. Or what about having the exam in batches?
I know we don’t have all the answers and people are just trying to figure things out. But I wonder: how long are we going to scrap and postpone milestone events while still protecting our people’s lives? I wish we did not have to navigate this pandemic that is leaving us with few options. But since we are here, I also wish we could take a more proactive approach to things. We have to be practical and innovative and adaptable.
But this is all very subjective. What do you think? Are we hurrying things by sending kids back to school? Should we be willing to set academic calendars back by a year? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.