Community Based Learning Facilitation Approach During Pandemic

Where there is online mode of education is not feasible, community based learning facilitation program is the best way to facilitate leaning.

Learning Facilitation During Pandemic

This is a report prepared based on a community-based learning facilitation program run by one of the Nepalese schools located in a rural area where other alternative means of education were impossible. This report tries to showcase our practice and also tries to analyze the situation of disconnectedness in education caused by the COVID – 19 pandemic.

Background

The worldwide pandemic of Covid-19 has influenced every aspect of human life. Education also could not remain untouched. Due to Covid-19 a sudden closure of schools and universities took place worldwide. This happened in Nepal too. It has made negative impacts on students’ education and career. And it could have permanent damage on school system-there are chances.

Learning or say education is a lifelong process. Schools and colleges support learning somewhere in part of our life. Learning is a chain process. One learning attracts another. During the time of undesired catastrophe, lifestyle gets hampered.  People have to compromise their interest and prospects. This pandemic has caused great loss in the field of education. Students are not going to the school. It has impacted on their social, psychological, and mental development.

In such a scenario, alternative modes of education have come on the surface of discussion. Most of the schools have been practicing online education through synchronous and asynchronous modes of education. For example; running classes through Zoom Meet, Google Meet, Office Team, Google Classroom, Gmail, YouTube and so on. These are the alternative modes of education delivery in which students and teachers do not meet physically. They can run such classes informally without any time and place boundary. Using synchronous and asynchronous modes in teaching and learning have become very effective and efficient.

Running online education is not so easy and feasible in many of the schools in Nepal. Most of the schools are less resourced and cannot afford digital technology which works as a medium of instruction. For them running online classes is like chewing iron rice. Online mode of teaching and learning requires specific skills and knowledge to the both teacher and students. Without modern technological tools like laptop, mobile, internet, online education cannot be think of. In such context, students form remote areas are deprived of education. It has created a big gap between students who are privileged and the disadvantaged students.

Introduction

This is the report of Learning Facilitation Program launched by Shree Jivan Jyoti Secondary School, Situated at Biruwa R.M.-7 Kusumbhanjyang, Syangja. According to the demand of time it was necessary to think any alternative way of teaching and learning when direct/face to face teaching and learning was impossible. At the same time running schools formally with the physical presence of teachers and students was restricted by the government. In the sense it was illegal and punishable act if one runs schools normally. In this context, there were only two options left for us; running online classes using synchronous and asynchronous modes and running community based teaching. The first option was very challenging. After the analysis of the situation our school came to the conclusion that online teaching and learning is not feasible and manageable. Then, we implemented another option i.e. teachers visit students in their community. We all the teachers started learning facilitation program going to the students’ community. This program was comparatively effective.

The procedure of Running a Community-based Learning Facilitation program

Our school launched a community-based learning facilitation program considering the following steps.

  1. First, we collected the data of students regarding their position, location, level, family condition etc.
  2. Then, we classified them into three groups; having internet and computer facilities, having TV and radio facilities, and having no such advantages.
  3. And then, learning centres were determined.
  4. After that, teachers were divided into different groups to visit different learning centres.
  5. Teachers made and collected teaching materials. For example; books, newspapers, posters, videos, pictures and so on. The government also provided self-learning materials for students.
  6. Then, all the teachers went to the students’ community for learning facilitation.

Advantages of Community-based Learning Facilitation Program

  1. It was an ice breaking action. Students have been deprived of education for four months. It has impacted on their learning habit. This program became able to continue teaching and learning.
  2. Students were motivated to see their teachers in own home for teaching. It was a new experience for them.
  3. It benefited teachers too. They came to know the actual background, situation and location of students. This will help them in future for designing and implementing teaching plans.
  4. It was an opportunity to let students know that school is not only the place of learning. They can learn watching TV, listening to radio and using internet too.
  5. This program has strengthened the relationship between teachers and guardians. They would not have known each other so closely in the past. There must proper communication and understanding take place between teachers and guardians.

 

Difficulties and problems in running community based learning facilitation

  1. This is period of crisis and uncertainty. People are afraid of COVID-19. Government has issued lockdown nation-wide. It very difficult to convince guardians for the program.
  2. The geography and location of students created difficulty in facilitating learning. It was a challenge for teachers to contact every student and collect them in the community learning center. Besides that, going daily to the community learning centers created problems to the teachers.
  3. It was very difficult to facilitate students because they were from different level and class. For instance, a single teacher had to handle and facilitate pre-primary students and secondary students at a same time.
  4. It was difficult to run course/curriculum.
  5. Congested place was a real challenge to maintain physical distance among students.
  6. Teachers could not give time to each student because it was only for 2-3 hours.
  7. Fear of COVID infection to the teachers and students.

Solutions and recommendations

Where there is the online mode of education is not feasible, a community-based learning facilitation program is the best way to facilitate learning. For that, every stakeholder must be responsible and supportive. The guardians and other stakeholders must be involved in the process. The school should allocate roles and responsibilities not only to teachers and students but also to guardians. Without the support of guardians and other community members, it becomes very difficult to manage community-based teaching-learning. So that before running the program the consent and support of every stakeholder is a must. To make the problem successful teachers should work hard. They need to collect and present teaching materials. School administration has a vital role to play. It can coordinate and collaborate with local government and stakeholders.

Conclusion

It was found fruitful to facilitate and monitor students’ learning activities. Teachers could have eyes on their community behaviours and also interact closely with the guardians.  Community-based learning facilitation program is a situation and need-based program which is expected to break the status quo on students’ learning caused by pandemics.