Parents are concerned about the lack of interaction and that virtual learning helps the student learn
With the third wave of Covid infections on top and without vaccination plans yet for those under 18 years of age, the return to face-to-face classes is just around the corner, after a year and a half without children and young people in the classrooms.
The return to the classrooms, scheduled for Monday, August 30, is a decision that apparently will not be reversed, despite the fact that last week the country had its second-highest day in infections, exceeding the figure of 21 thousand new cases registered in one day.
“I do not care that most are thinking about not returning, I am going to maintain that it is essential that they return to classes for the good of children, adolescents, parents, for the good of all, for the good for education and the development of the country, “said the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, in his morning conference on July 29.
So far, 25 of the 32 states of the country have accepted the return to face-to-face classes, although it will not be mandatory for students, even when on Friday several states announced a new wave of red traffic lights and it will be in effect at least until 22 August, according to the Ministry of Health.
According to the map of the dependency led by Jorge Alcocer, in the country, there are seven states in red, 15 in orange, nine in yellow, and only Chiapas remains green.
In Mexico, according to official figures, in total, Covid-19 reduced the number of students by 2.8 million by including preschool to high school, while affecting the academic activities of 33 million minors.
In addition, the consultancy Human Media Connections points out that there are several factors that complicate distance education.
“Digital illiteracy, lack of planning, the educational gap and the main uses that are given to the web, have been obstacles to the adoption of remote education in the middle of the emergency learning transition,” the company details.
According to a survey conducted by this consultancy, in the United States, 13 out of 100 teachers who participated in the study among 1,274 schools said they used live streaming and 57 percent of them said they did not feel prepared to use this tool.
“In Mexico also, despite the fact that more than 70 percent of the population has access to the internet, the reality is that it is used more for entertainment and socialization than for issues related to education.”
But beyond the school system, there is an alternative: homeschooling, or homeschooling, an alternative that allows parents to study their children without having to attend a school in the traditional educational system and certify minors to through exams validated by the Ministry of Public Education, or even international organizations.
According to Mati Talent Institute, a company specialized in advising parents for homeschooling, in the 2019-2020 school year, 5,000 families joined this scheme, double the number before the pandemic.
The causes of this boom in homeschoolers are based on the pandemic, but it is not the only reason: “They join a group of parents and children who had already been consolidating as homeschoolers for a long time and, many who arrived due to the pandemic are learning about the benefits that this educational option offers; For example, spending more time with the children, offering a differentiated option of education or that the children go at their own pace, the freedom to move without having strict calendars; and the most important thing: that their children are happy practicing this educational modality, among other factors ”, said the institution.
WHY DO THEY LOOK FOR SCHOOL AT HOME?
The lack of face-to-face classes in the world meant a paradigm shift. According to World Bank data, in Mexico, as a consequence of the pandemic, learning could suffer a delay equivalent to two school cycles for each child.
The pandemic also accelerated the dropout of minors from schools. During the pandemic, it is estimated that school dropouts reached 800,000 young people, while three years ago the number was 600,000. With this result, Mexico returned to the levels it had before 2008 at the high school level.
According to Mati’s directive, far from the pandemic, there are many parents who want their children not to go to school and stay to learn at home.
Their motives, he says, are that “they want to live very closely all the stages of their children’s development and growth.”
To this factor is added that some moms or dads tried the model during their childhood or adolescence and want to transmit this experience to their children.
Other cases are children who did not adapt to the traditional educational system or suffered extreme cases of bullying, misunderstanding, and abuse.
Emmanuel Muñoz, a teacher at the Mati Talent Institute, assures that parents who seek this educational system are also people who need to travel a lot for their jobs or public figures.
“Their children have specific needs, some children are gifted, but there are no specific programs for them, there are also children with attention deficit and homeschooling offers a solution for this type of family,” said the specialist in an interview with El Sol de México.
Muñoz assures that children who enter this model tend to be self-taught or to adapt easily to new learning systems.
“They like to explore, investigate, experiment and are very given to looking for the contents of what they like and the work we do with interactive platforms is to give them direction,” said the teacher.
“A good percentage tried Homeschooling during the pandemic and seeing its advantages, they made the decision not to return to the school system and will try another year of this model.”
According to the teacher, the parents who sought this model were also doing home office, and that some of them will not return to the office either, so they hope to concentrate all their activities within the home.
“These models were also joined by children of businessmen or students who seek to study at universities in the United States, as well as families who seek to educate with the best standards of bilingual education,” he says.
However, many parents still hesitate between sending their children to school, as before the pandemic, continuing with online classes, or entering homeschooling.
According to a survey conducted by Human Media Connections, an independent data-savvy media agency with offices in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and the United States, most parents are concerned about the lack of interaction with the teacher and that virtual learning help the student learn as it happened with the face-to-face format by obtaining almost 60 percent of the mentions.
Parents surveyed by Human Media Connections agree that children have easily adapted to the educational system, with just over half of the responses; however, one of the main concerns is the dispersion between screens.
The study finds that, on average, 35 percent of students between the ages of six and 24 began using collaborative tools on 1.5 screens during the pandemic.
“There is increasing concern about the lack of socialization and overload of parents and children, in addition, that while children are prepared to adapt, teachers are not prepared.” This is the opinion of seven out of 10 parents, according to the study.
In addition, they warned that they believe that there is a loss of ability to socialize among minors.
However, Emmanuel Muñoz assures that integrating young people into the homeschooling system does not limit socialization, but is an international issue due to the pandemic.
Once we can all have permission from the authorities to return to socialize, to have physical contact again, these young people would not stop socializing and among the positive things of homeschooling is the time that children spend with their families because parents missed those experiences because some schools have extracurricular activities, which complicates the coexistence between parents and children since it was very limited, ”says Muñoz.
Another factor that parents dislike to integrate into homeschooling is an overload of academic activities, but Muñoz assures that the key is in balance, since there are children who even have more time to play sports if they are in the home school method.
The advice of companies specialized in homeschooling, according to Human Connections Media, is complemented through formats such as Edugaming, Robotics, and YouTube as primary sources.
Edugaming, which consists of video games related to basic education, will grow from 20 percent to 35 percent in the format of game-based learning, cognitive learning, and robotic tutors, the company estimates.
In addition, another growing sector will be the “edutubers”, education specialists with video channels.
According to YouTube, on its platform edutubers have 1.2 million subscribers, of which 80 percent are in Latin America, according to data from the Google video company.