Learners with a difference

Pupils in class after schools reopened recently.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • Some learners have been neglected and, hence, hardened by life.
  • Meanwhile, books have taken a back seat — except for the few who follow instructions online.
  • I propose a post-Covid-19 debrief for learners on re-entry behaviour and new ways of handling them

When businesses and schools closed in March over Covid-19 fears, learners, who ordinarily follow a strict routine, were let loose. For seven months, they have engaged in all manner of unstructured and unsupervised activities.

A disaster of the magnitude of the pandemic brings with it social disorganisation. It is, therefore, imperative to look at the responses of societies in terms of specific human behaviour: Whether vulnerability or, on the contrary, social resilience.

The partial lockdown curtailed visits between families far away from each other but the long holiday was a great opportunity for children to interact with the community. From an educational standpoint, it should have given them experiences like gaining valuable language, history and social skills.

Conversely, some learners have been neglected and, hence, hardened by life. Media reports of mistreatment, crime, violence, FGM, early marriage, drug and substance abuse, among other vices, abound. The lucky few have earned quick money without the much-hyped certificates.

Meanwhile, books have taken a back seat — except for the few who follow instructions online. Educationists agree that a long study break usually causes learners to forget what they had been learning, slip away from study habits and become languid from so much time spent without working.

Disasters breed a new crop of populace. Some learners will have one foot in the classroom and the other in the newly acquired occupations. We might witness a rise in misbehaviour — teenage mothers, cases of apathy, truancy, drugs and violence.

I propose a post-Covid-19 debrief for learners on re-entry behaviour and new ways of handling them. A complex process of un-learning what has been learnt and re-learning what ought to be learnt in a school need to be carried out.


Dr Turuthi (PhD), a high school deputy principal, is an educational communication technology expert. davidgitau4@gmail.com.