I recently read the news that Portugal wanted to ensure there was no unfairness in educational attainment during lockdown by stopping all schools in all sectors teaching online lessons for two weeks.
I was shocked that any government would suggest that to ensure educational parity as Covid cases soar, every child should miss out on learning.
As a young adult, it was drummed into me that with good health and the best education you can go far. In fact, many charities in their adverts and promotional direct mail drum into us the importance of health and education in progressing an economy. We all know that quote: “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach him how to fish, feed him and his family for life.”
The Portugese government’s attempt to create parity between the sectors is actually most unfair. Independent and international schools that have excellent remote teaching provision are being punished because state school offerings have been so patchy.
“Portugal is cutting off its nose to spite its face.”
In my opinion, Portugal is cutting off its nose to spite its face (there is the longer term threat with all pupils missing out on education). How so? Well, politicians don’t generally consider the long term, politics is generally about ego and focusing on the here and now and what gets them re-elected.
The longer-term threat would not have worried the government in Portugal as it would be a future government that would have to pick up the pieces in 10 to 20 years’ time, especially if the two weeks got extended.
The whole article made me so angry for the children who were missing out and all due to politics. And yes, I do get frustrated that every child cannot access a world class education too, and yes this is unfair.
It did make me think back to the real concerns that many of us had during the last UK election and the statements that the Labour Party was making about abolishing the independent school sector. Never have I seen so much support for our wonderful sector in the media with parents saying that they don’t want any government telling them how to spend their money or what they should or should not choose to do for the education of their child(ren).
“Shouldn’t governments be working with schools to roll out online learning, rather than ceasing it for all?”
I remember thinking at the time how heartening this was, as we (especially boarding schools) don’t often get huge support from the media. They love to suggest that boarding schools are a punishment for children.
In essence, should not governments be working with schools to roll out online learning for all rather than ceasing it for all? Governments could ask independent schools for key tips on rolling this out or get them to buddy with a few local schools to support them.
Zoom has been amazing giving free upgrades for school accounts during this pandemic so the technology is there. Many children have iPads (as do teachers) and for those that don’t, then there are ways around this. Mail Force’s Computers for Kids which is looking to help companies recycle old computers for school use is a good example. It is set to help fund new laptops and tablets for a million children in the UK finding it hard to access lessons online. With governments, media, business and schools working together, surely something can be done to ensure more parity for all?
It is up to governments to protect and look after our youngest citizens so that they can develop and not lose out educationally. This should be of equal importance as has finding and rolling out a vaccine because great health and education for all is key to economic survival and sustainability.