President Abdel Fatah El Sisi announced the suspension of schools for two weeks as one of the measurements of combating the spread of coronavirus. The majority of mothers calmed down, however, some working moms started to search for babysitting alternatives, especially as the decision included nurseries as well. Most importantly, mothers currently have many questions and concerns regarding the learning process during the suspension period and the flow of this academic year.
The Minister of Education stated the alternatives that could be useful for homeschooling during this period. As per The Ministry:
- Students in grade 10 (first secondary year) to grade 12 (third secondary year) can use the Egyptian Knowledge Bank; an official Egyptian website that includes all the curriculum, as well as interactive videos and exam models. It’s supposedly used by students of those grades since last year.
- From grade 3-8 ( second preparatory), The Ministry of Education is preparing online materials with the help of schools that students can rely on and most schools are conducting meetings with their staff to implement the new system.
- Schools already started announcing online learning methods to parents and students.
- Some of them will use existing school applications for sending lessons and educational materials to their students and receive the homework.
- Schools staff are trying to enhance this with videos to ease the explanation process. Videos are either school productions or Youtube lessons.
- Teachers started to make Whatsapp groups for classes so they can easily communicate with their students and answer their questions.
- Few schools are considering that teachers might go live, explaining the lessons to students so they don’t feel any difficulties in acquiring the information.
There are some individual and official efforts in spreading awareness about local and international websites and YouTube Channels that could help in homeschooling. Some of them are:
- Top Marks
- Miss Giraffe’s Class
- Brain Pop
- Star Fall
- Fun Brain
- Fact Monster
While the majority of mothers agree on the necessity of school suspension decision for the safety of the children, they have different reactions towards homeschooling systems. Some parents are already familiar with the online system as their schools apply an e-learning process during normal school days where students have to watch online videos to finish assessments.
Other moms are panicking and not sure if their children will comprehend the new system as all the other aiding services, like private tutoring, are canceled as well. Some moms mentioned that although the Egyptian Knowledge Bank (the tablet system) is an existing one, it was not actually used by students. Many are still worried about the grading method and they are worried about the slackness or unfairness that might occur.
As per Dr. Tarek Shawki, the dates for Thanaweya Ama exams and IGCSE, are still the same as announced last week. The exams’ dates for other grades will be announced in the upcoming 24 hours.
The situation is still vague as expected in times of chaos and with constant updates regarding coronavirus. Officials, schools, teachers, and parents are trying their best but with differentiation in Egyptian educational systems, lack of good Internet services in some areas, and the inability of some parents to help their kids with their studies. We can’t predict the smoothness of the trial. We’ll all have to wait and see.