It’s unbelievable but it’s true: Schools all over Indonesia have been shut for more than twelve consecutive months. Last spring, when the schools closed their gates one after the other, probably nobody would have expected them to stay closed for such a long time. And even today there is still no clear perspective for or timing on the reopening.
The closure of schools affected any school in Jakarta and in most parts of Indonesia, without little to no exceptions. In most of the other countries worldwide, students were allowed face to face education in schools at least temporarily. Not so in Jakarta. This is definitely an exceptional situation for students and for sure it has effects on their personal development - in good ways and in negative ways.
As professional Math & Science tutors catering to the needs of students attending international schools in Indonesia we are in close contact with students of all ages on a daily basis. Of course, every student has individual needs and not every student deals the same way with this situation. However, over the last year we sensed different developments and changes in the way students are handling the situation in general.
We believe now is a good time to look back and draw first learnings on what students have learned, on their overall needs during this situation and, most importantly, on how we as parents or educators can help them during the upcoming months until the situation will hopefully gradually become more normal again.
Quite a short time after the school closings we noticed that many of the students who take tutoring sessions with us needed more support and guidance than ever before. Students were longing for private tutoring sessions where they could receive one-on-one guidance during this often chaotic transition to remote learning. No wonder, as many schools didn’t really have the time to get prepared and set-up an online learning infrastructure with tools for communication in classes and online assignments.
Due to the rather sudden switch, online schooling, in the beginning, was actually learning alone at home by themselves for many students. Combined with very limited interaction with their peers and their teachers.
It’s a fact that children, especially smaller children, learn through interaction and through exchanging with others. Mainly due to technical limitations the interpersonal exchange was missing, especially in the early stage of the pandemic. By the way: This is not meant as criticism towards schools, they were just overwhelmed in the beginning of the crisis. In fact, all international schools we are in contact with via our students have stepped up their remote school facilities and abilities at an extremely fast pace.
Although the switch to remote schooling and the threat of the COVID-19 crisis affected many students, remote schooling was still something cool and new to them in the beginning. Small wonder: In the past, probably every student dreamt of closed schools. Plus, the whole situation was somewhat new and exciting and the best part: it involved the intensive use of tech devices.
After the summer at the latest, it was clear that remote schooling would stay a reality for a longer time in Indonesia. This was when many students realised that staying at home all day and being able to communicate with friends and teachers only via technical devices is not cool if there is no other option.
In this situation, many students got rather frustrated and quite a number of the students we work with fell behind and the situation affected their grades. It got worse once it became clear that schools would still stay closed in the new year.
Of course, we also could only communicate digitally with our students. But for many of them the one-on-one sessions between them and us as a tutor was a very pleasant relief.
Still, we were super relieved, when the restrictions in Jakarta were eased in October 2020. Since that time, A for Effort has been able to offer one-on-one classroom sessions and personal home visits following our strict protocols. Of course, we continue with online Zoom sessions as a third option, but we saw that many parents and kids gladly accepted offline sessions following the protocols, allowing students a change in their current learning environment.
Over the past few weeks we sense a new phase beyond many of our students. Quite a number of them seem to have settled in with prolonged online schooling. Of course, they would still prefer to go back to school, but by now they can cope quite well with remote schooling also. And they don’t bother themselves anymore with the question on when finally school will be open again. They know that this day will come and most of them are resilient enough to get along with that.
Of course, remote learning is not only hard on the students - but also on the parents. Especially in the beginning of the pandemic we have heard from many parents that they feel they have to compensate as teachers for their kids. That said, for many kids it's rather difficult to accept a parent as a teacher and listen to him or her the way they would listen to their actual teachers. We have heard from many clients that reaching out to a professional tutor has brought a great relief for their relationship with their kids.
We hope that the situation will improve soon and that kids can get back to face to face learning also in Indonesia soon. On the other hand it’s probably quite realistic that there will be phases of online learning during the next year or so even if schools can reopen.
A for Effort Math & Science tutoring is there to support your kids also during this situation. Get in touch with us if you or your kids are struggling with online schooling. Our tutors are there to help.