Students returning to school need education as well as love and affection, experts say

School education should be directed towards empowering with determined and strengthened attitudes when classrooms are re-opened following the closure of them for COVID-19 pandemic, Chairman of the National Fundamental Education Institute Kandy, Professor Athula Sumathipala said.

It is the responsibility of teachers, parents, media and the entire society, he points out.

Professor Sumathipala was addressing a media briefing titled ‘COVID-19 pandemic, children and their education’ held at the Department of Government Information on Friday (01).

School children could be vulnerable to slowed down education as well as slack mindset due to COVID-19, therefore all factions should act with responsibility to overcome such situation. Teachers should draw their attention to children who are returning to school and handle them with love and care while understanding their mental agonies.

Parents also should act with patience and understanding during this period. It is the responsibility of the media houses as well to broadcast more optimism such as the positive incidents that occurred during the COVID-10 pandemic in order to help increase the mental condition of children.

Addressing the media briefing, Pediatric Specialist attached to the Medical Faculty of the University of Kelaniya, Professor Samanmali Sumanasena said that we should realize education is a broad subject and is not restricted only to classroom activities. A child, while nurturing in the womb, absorbs education, therefore, not only schools but also the whole environs are a seat of learning for children, as it makes an influence on their mental health, the Professor said.

She said children of less affluent families and rural households are the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. School is the place that brings some relief to certain children who are living under domestic woes. Such children are aggrieved further when schools are closed for studies. Therefore, under such circumstances, society should draw much attention to the educational and health situation of young children.

Speaking to the journalists, Community Health Specialist of the Child and Family Health Bureau, Dr Asiri Hewamalage said children of this country were engaged in education using different methods even amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  This novel experience created them opportunity to use new technology while mingling with various fields of subjects.

“The global recognition of the 21st Century with regard to education is to give broad and creative knowledge to children besides book-learning. Education should inculcate in children literacy in technology and media, and to identify empathy through team activities. It is an essential factor that the Sri Lankan education sector also should be directed towards these widespread goals.  Children today are lacking team spirit and interaction in society under the prevailing circumstances.”

The Specialist Doctor pointed out that it is advisable to give priority to build the mental condition of children within a short period of time rather than focusing on teaching subjects after schools are re-opened. She said that it is the responsibility of both teachers and parents to make commitments toward these objectives. – ada derana

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