Pandemic Homeschool for AACDP High School Students

by Marsha Winsryg

Safe studies for students whose school has closed

In Zambia, all public schools below college level have been canceled during the pandemic and we don’t know when they will resume. For our three high school students, Lillian, Patrick and Otiness, to miss school for an indefinite period could be disastrous. They are all struggling to catch up to their peers, having had very spotty educational experiences due to the disturbances of extreme poverty. Sometimes children are shifted to another relative when a parent dies or cannot manage to feed a child. Upheavals are common.

For many parents, providing the essentials of daily life is a challenge. Whenever there is a bit left over for education, a child may attend for a semester. But if the the tuition cannot be met the next semester, they will be “chased away” even though the Zambian constitution states that free education is available to all. Because the government does not adequately fund public schools, the schools are obliged to charge fees for many things besides tuition; books, paper, pencils, bathroom supplies, PTA and sundry other items. Uniforms are not supposed to be required, and still the parents are billed for them.

Lilian in her high school uniform

So we did not want these three students who have worked so hard to finish high school to lose what ground they had gained. Keeping up with classwork has always been a struggle, so we thought to hire a few part time qualified teachers to conduct class at the AACDP’s offices in Livingstone.

Three teachers have been hired to cover the eight subjects required in 11th grade, and desks and chairs have been bought so that students could be 6 feet apart. We provide masks and sanitizer and breakfast and lunch as well.

This is the first time any of these students has had real one on one assistance and feels comfortable asking questions that they might be too shy to ask at the normal high school. They all agree that homeschooling has improved their general understanding of course work and boosted their confidence.

We would like to continue with some kind of homework club after the public high schools reopen, but know one knows yet when that might be.

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