Are families in Bahrain prepared for online education?

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When the pandemic forced schools to close, parents and educators grappled with how to keep the kids learning.

Many students from low-income families also lack the basic technology they require to study online – including access to a computer and a reliable internet connection.

Apart from the costs of providing decent systems and the struggles of adapting to the new arrangement, most parents are also concerned about the stability of data providers. Internet access has been a problem in Bahrain long before the pandemic, with high prices, slow speeds and lack of coverage in some areas.

A number of parents debate whether online education is worth the same price as a regular classroom setup; while some worry about handling online lessons when they have no time to teach.

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“There were times our daughter found it hard to catch up with the learning materials because of the quality of the Zoom classes, due to either our or the teacher’s internet connection. In this kind of learning setting, we’ve also noticed how hesitant the students are in raising their concerns since they are usually put on ‘mute’”, a parent whose child is enrolled in The Indian School said.

Are students becoming less productive?

We are all witnesses to our homes being transformed as a makeshift classroom. And ironically, this is where social exclusion is felt the most. As a result, students are becoming more and more demotivated to go through their daily tasks.

“I think because our children are not studying in a classroom, it is a lot harder to stay motivated on one task. There are also several unavoidable distractions at home on a daily basis”, a parent whose child is studying at the Philippine School said.

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Furthermore, the inconsistency of teachers and difference in teaching approaches make it difficult for students to keep track of what is assigned. “It actually feels like the workload is heavier”, a student from a university in Bahrain said. “It’s also a lot harder to grasp the information sometimes which adds to the pressure”, he added.

While it is easier for teachers to provide links and readings, it is more impactful for students to see their teachers and stay engaged together through their shared communication. Since that’s what parents are paying for, right?

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