Distance education is not particularly valued, because they lack school, friends and even these moments of sharing. But at the end of October, which is witnessing the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic in Lebanon, they have no choice but to get used to it. It is true that public schools opened their gates on October 12, but only for classes with official exams, third, first and final. As for private schools, they depend to a large extent on the instructions of the authorities to close in many localities, but in some also on the devastation caused by the explosion of August 4. So while waiting for the health reassessment, on October 26, many students are running like butter, welcoming online tuition, which is much more interactive than the previous year and the opportunity to sleep a little more in the morning. For others, and not just the less privileged, it is distress or even boredom. Challenged, repeated power outages, whimsical internet, lack of adequate equipment or simply concentration problems.
Internet and electricity outages
“No! Another internet outage! Every time the Wi-Fi connection is lost, Olina, a seventh-grader at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul in Broumman, gets angry. “The password didn’t work,” her mother said helplessly. What’s worse is that the girl is in danger of losing points if marked as absent. This could affect her overall average. “Waël, a 9-year-old in CM1, at the Collège des Saints-Cœurs Sioufi, has more problems because of the power outage.” It’s hard! notes. By the time I rejoin, my classmates have finished their workouts. »
Connection problems and power outages are the main obstacles to online education in a country that provides electricity in trunks and lorries, forcing participants to resort to neighboring generators. And the entire population is affected, both students and teachers. Thus Noor, a 4th year student at the Collège des Saints-Cœurs Sioufi, saw a mathematics course that had been postponed several times. “The teacher couldn’t connect,” he notes, referring to the whims of Wi-Fi. Rich or disadvantaged classes, no one is immune to any barrier to online education. “Wi-Fi connection at home is without explanation three days non-functional. I have no choice but to connect my laptop to 4G so I don’t miss the clock. The limit is quickly exceeded and my phone bill explodes, ”says Caline, a Melkart College student. Quackery, which annoys the young girl, but makes her aware of her privileged situation compared to so many students in the country who have to share their tablet or laptop with their siblings for financial reasons or choose not to go to distance learning. . Saged Oleyan’s situation is particularly difficult. In the upper class at Deir Kifa (Tire) Public High School in southern Lebanon, the high school student said he was “desperate.” Because he currently has only two days of teaching, “the school bus driver requested too high a monthly salary.” He can’t even work online. “I don’t have the right equipment and I can’t afford to buy it,” the young man laments. Because her cell phone “doesn’t have the ability to download the Microsoft Team app” and her mother’s phone is mobilized by her sister. “I already missed the practical work in mathematics, in which the teacher explained how to use a calculator,” the bachelor regrets. And when he complained about the facility’s management, they told him it wasn’t serious and that online tuition accounted for only 10% of courses. “I am afraid I will not be able to graduate. And only I would regret it, “he said helplessly.
This lack of concentration
Financial barriers to education are affecting a large part of the Lebanese population in the context of the falling pound and the acute economic crisis, not to mention that the explosion at the port of Beirut on 4 August further weakened the increasingly vulnerable population. According to the World Bank, 45% of the Lebanese population lives below the poverty line. But in addition to this serious problem, for which National Education has still not found a solution, online education is also criticized for other reasons.
Among them is a problem with the concentration of students, which significantly burdens the mental health of parents and especially mothers of families. “If I don’t sit next to him, Roy, my 8-year-old son, who studied at Saint-Vincent-de-Paul School in Bourj Hammoud, makes no effort,” mourns Cindy, who plays both mothers. and a teacher, like many parents. However, the young woman is professionally active and would not want to miss her working day. “He gets up for yes or no to drink water, he got something. Or he seems to be absent, “he notes. “An exercise that should only last a few minutes will then end for a few hours,” he moans, admitting that he sometimes loses his temper in the face of this situation. “I would like school to start again,” he begs. Because his son was a “good student” when he went to class.
The problem is all the more serious because many parents in rural areas have a low level of education and are unfamiliar with computers. “Most parents of our students can’t help their children study, or even more, in online education,” notes Zeina Deriane, vice president of the NGO Paradis d’enfants, a group of three half-free schools that educate 2,000 disadvantaged students. “In these times of economic crisis, their main concern is to provide food for their families,” he says.
Longer sleep time
Of course, not everything is black. Ms Deriane notes “clear progress in distance education compared to last year”. “Pace is slower than in class. I definitely work a lot and I miss my friends very much. But I can sleep longer in the morning and I don’t have to run to get ready, “admits Noor. “I can’t concentrate for long. But I see that it’s much better organized than last year and that the teachers have mastered the technique better,” says Caline. For many families, this teaching is also welcome in this period of health insecurity. “I’m afraid to see it contaminated. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, I’ve been calmer if I leave him at home, as well as his brothers and sisters, who have all been educated at the Collège des Frères de Mreijé,” admits Mirvat, a mother at home. family and the need to share a single computer in the house, and two tired mobile phones, “the two oldest (terminal and third) they feel when they spend the day with their heads wedged in front of the screens ”.
Finally, there is the humor and those little anecdotes that brighten lonely blows for students who lack classmates, teachers and the school environment. Like this student, who fell asleep again in the morning, in the middle of a virtual lesson or the intrusion of a teacher’s child who wanted to be introduced into the classroom, causing the students to laugh out in general.
Distance education is not particularly valued, because they lack school, friends and even these moments of sharing. But at the end of October, which is witnessing the rise of the Covid-19 pandemic in Lebanon, they have no choice but to get used to it. It is true that public schools opened their gates on October 12, but only for classes on …