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OP-ED: Tomorrow’s leaders are today’s learners

  • Published at 08:14 pm September 27th, 2021
The young are eager BIGSTOCK

How we can encourage the young despite the difficulties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic

A grandmother, amidst all her daily errands, sets aside at least half an hour every day to chat with two of her beloved grandsons living in a big city thousands of kilometres away. Ayushman and Anushman, two lovely young children of six and eight, are enrolled in a prestigious school in a cosmopolitan city. 

It has been almost two years since their school was closed. But fortunately for them, the school had well planned and well managed online programs which, in addition to keeping the young learners busy in various constructive ways, also keep their parents involved to make sure that they pay enough attention to their children’s learning process in the changed circumstances. 

In addition to his learning of language and math skills, Ayushman by now is quite confident in handling gadgets like the tab his mother has put at his disposal shortly after the school closed on account of Covid-19. 

He has recently finished a project on life and culture of various tribes of his country. Initially he needed the support of his mother but the last few months’ practice has given him enough confidence to handle things all by himself. He is now in a position to help his younger brother Anushman. While they miss their outdoor activities very dearly, they have adjusted well to the confinement of the indoor situation. 

The other day in their session with their grandmother in a video call, they were explaining to her as to how to make tents with items available at home like, such as bed sheets, clotheslines, chairs etc.

The grandma, being very inquisitive, asked a lot of questions which at some point made Anushman a little impatient. But at the end of the conversation, the grandchild realized that he had been a little harsh and  apologized in his cute appealing voice, and added how much he missed her. 

This simple video conversation between the grandma and her young grandsons reveal how innovative and creative our younger generations can be with some assistance, guidelines, and amenities. 

This is also a very good example of how well people have managed to live in the changed realities in view of Covid-19 and shows how all generations are trying to adjust with the changed realities and make the best of this unusual situation -- in learning, sharing, and caring for each other. 

The other day I came across a request from a cousin on social media. It was her 7-year-old daughter, Aliana, engaged in a project carrying out a survey about the effects of Covid-19 on people across countries and belonging to various age groups. 

She made a sample questionnaire with options for multiple answers. I could not resist but to respond and thus honour and encourage my little niece in Thailand. I am sure Aliana is going to come up with some interesting findings through her sample survey. Again, this is a fine example as to how people are making best use of available opportunities amidst the restrictions. 

We have reasons to believe that these talented, young learners of today can be the future leaders in various spheres of human endeavour. We appreciate the kind of thoughtfulness, planning, and work that has been done by their teachers and parents alike to keep their enthusiasm alive and equip them with the knowhow, along with an environment conducive to their learning and well-being at the same time.

In spite of all the odds, efforts are being made to nourish the desire for learning, innovation, and creativity. It is not easy to mould such young minds and make them understand the difficulties we are going through as individuals and as a community. 

The parents have attached enough importance not only to learning but to maintaining and enhancing the family ties, compassion, and the acts of sharing and caring with the loved ones separated by a vast expanse of space. 

It is important to note that the kind of learning referred to above has been possible due to a number of factors. These include the availability of the internet and required gadgets, proper technical and pedagogical knowledge of teachers and the organizers, assistance and guidance provided by parents, and motivating and counselling the young learners and generating awareness among them about the inevitable changes we are going through.

Last but not the least, it is driving home the importance of family members and relatives in life even if they are separated by distance. 

Brig Gen Qazi Abidus Samad, ndc, psc (Retd) is a freelance contributor. Email: [email protected]

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