Written by CorpsAfrica/Malawi Volunteer Ms. Margaret Magombo
The road has been very long for the young ones in our societies. Those who have been living and believing that they can turn around their lives by the power of ink and paper have had their hopes and dreams twisted and almost laid waste. The closure of schools and the uncertainty that followed the reopening has done a damage whose magnitude is beyond quantification. Mastercard Foundation and CorpsAfrica’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Zomba-Nsondole has done a commendable job of resurrecting the dreams of learners from Nsondole CDSS, which were hastening into a deep slumber.
The learners being out of school for over four months, most of them lost touch with their school work. The donation of mobile tablet phones to Nsondole CDSS by Mastercard Foundation cannot be appreciated enough by the learner community, specifically form four students. The donation came at the perfect time. Most of the learners have been indulging in unproductive practices in the absence of active teaching and learning. The reality that some girl learners have fallen pregnant and others have married cannot go without saying. Loaded with reading materials characterized by well-articulated assignments and exercises, the tablets have been providing an interactive platform to the learners.
How much the learners missed school was too evident to grasp on the day the donation was handed to the school and the days to follow. During the handover, the learner community did not hesitate to begin using the tablets to access the reading materials. Fueled with the excitement of interacting with the seemingly little computers, the students whom many of them have never had the chance to use one are being enchanted with the ICT experience being provided by the mobile phone tablets. From the day the form four learners began their study circles aided by the gadgets, the attendance to the same is ever increasing. The enthusiasm the learners are portraying in the recently begun study circles is speaking volumes.
With the announcement of dates to effect the reopening of schools, the joy by the form four student community at Nsondole CDSS is too much to contain. To many the study circles that began recently facilitated by the mobile tablets has prepared them enough for the soon-to-begin active learning. To this class of learners who will have to sit for national exams that will decide their future in less than two months to come, their hopes, dreams and aspirations have been re-activated.
Perhaps how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected our education system should be a wakeup call to instrumental stakeholders and all concerned parties. It is time we began to look for innovative and sustainable means of delivering instruction to our young ones amidst troubling seasons. It’s time, perhaps, to make risk-proof the system that keeps dreams intact and alive for the sake of our future generation, for when dreams die, life fades.