On the 27th of June 2020, the Africa Unite School Club (AUSC) hosted a webinar session on “building resilience through collaborative efforts post-pandemic”. The session had participants from our AUSC members and alumni’s who are matriculants this year. We also had the privilege to have speakers, Ms Sive Mama; an educator, Ms Busiswa Dlamini; a health practitioner, and Ms Xena Scullard; a socio-political activist, who all shared more on how the pandemic has impacted their respective fields and how they have adjusted to our new normality.
The purpose of the webinar was to create a platform where learners and school teachers can give feedback and elaborate on their experiences during the first month of schools reopening in South Africa. Likewise, the webinar allowed learners and educators to share recommendations on what could be a way forward given the current situation in South Africa, this included measures which could be taken post-pandemic.
The school learners and the educators noted the rise of people testing positive for COVID-19 in schools across the country as a major concern. One of the recommendations made by the learners was for parents to take action against schools reopening. They further discussed how it is extremely difficult for people to adopt a new set of behaviours as they now need to restructure their understanding and engagement with their schooling environment.
One of the speakers; Ms Scullard, shared insight on how inequalities and violence against women has increased during the lockdown, and that gang violence has also increased which is a great concern for society. She further stated that in order for everyone to be educated on the pandemic, we must start normalising discussions on COVID-19 in our homes and communities.
Additionally, other suggestions that were raised in the session regarding COVID-19 were:
- There has been much stress on how learners are conducting themselves at school during this pandemic, however the government should elaborate on regulations on how educators and staff conduct themselves. E.g. do they have appropriate PPE’s in place? Are they adequately exercising social distancing in the staff rooms? Do they have their own dusters and chalks at school to limit sharing of resources etc.
- There needs to be more emphasis on parent’s involvement on academia.
- There needs to be contingencies to enable government’s educational platforms to be accessible without internet connectivity
Overall the webinar was very fruitful and sparked great engagement within our youth, we would like to thank all our speakers for the valuable input they provided and hope to have more sessions like these over the upcoming months as the learners have very much enjoyed the exchange of different perspectives.