As the world grapples with the recovery from the dreaded covid 19 Pandemic, there are pertinent question on everyone’s minds; “Will life ever return to normal?” and “What is the future of work and education?”.
In the wake of the health crisis, there were massive disruptions in education systems all over the world. However, the impact was mitigated by the timely adoption of technology solutions to facilitate remote learning.
Major global trends have emerged from the Covid pandemic; these mainly are: enhanced learning environments, increasing education inequality, innovative education strategies, new education allies including parents and social welfare organizations.
Consequently, the role of parents has been enlarged to encompass primary caregiver and educational support provider. At the peak of the crises, they were expected to maintain communication with teachers and monitor their ward’s academic performance concurrently.
A clear fall-out from the crises is an increase in mental health issues in students, this was discussed thoroughly in a report by UNICEF. The report states that covid 19 lockdown and restrictions have disrupted the mental health of the students who have had to stay at home during enforced Covid 19 lockdown and restrictions worldwide. It states specifically that: “When – day after day – you are away from your friends and distant loved ones, and perhaps even stuck at home with an abuser, the impact is significant. Many children are left feeling afraid, lonely, anxious, and concerned for their future”. Also, in the US it was reported that students experienced an increased level of stress and anxiety due to the Pandemic. There is, therefore, an urgent need for stakeholders in the education system to develop interventions and preventive strategies to address the mental health of students.
As a stakeholder in the educational sector, Multi-plan Pathway College has several years of experience in providing pastoral support for students seeking to advance future prospects with a pathway to quality tertiary education. We would advise parents to take the following steps to cater for their child’s educational future:
- Financial Planning: the key to securing your child’s future is starting early and assessing the financial products in the market. Parents need to adopt a disciplined and systemic approach, keeping in mind your long-term goal. The first step is to allocate a fixed amount of money every month to a designated account. These payments can be made by direct debit on your account. Certain banks have packages for educational savings accounts, you could have a look at the various options and select one which is best suited to you. You should review your budget regularly as the finances may change over time and encourage family members to contribute to the fund. More importantly, you could set up a Trust on behalf of your child while keeping an eye on scholarships and grants offered by educational institutions. First Multi-Plan Consultants offers advice and support regarding scholarships for Universities and Colleges in the best destinations around the world.
- Choice of Institution: Apart from the usual focus on the prestige, tuition and location of the institution that is foremost in your mind as a parent, as a result of the Pandemic you will need to pay particular attention to the institution’s adherence to Covid 19 guidelines and the support for your child’s on-line and off-line learning, particularly the pastoral care provided. First Multi-Plan Consultants offer experienced placement support when it comes to those matters. You should ensure that the institution you select for your child provides for the physical and emotional needs of your child in a positive environment which promotes proper integration and development at their maximum potential emotionally, physically, psychologically and academically. This involves child protection, social and health protection lessons, anti-bullying policy, as well as promoting well-being and safety at residential premises.
When considering the education of minors, due to the unprecedented decision parents and guardians are faced with concerning the care of children, we recommend selecting a college in Nigeria or a boarding school abroad. At Multi-plan pathway College, we have a responsive pastoral care unit which provides a range of support services for students. The college is structured in such a way that the students always have someone special nearby to talk to. The Staff adopt an open-door policy so the students are welcome to meet with them at any time. There are a number of boarding schools in the UK like Mander Portman Woodward (MPW), Padworth College and Cardiff Sixth form College to mention a few excellent institutions that provide exceptional pastoral care.
To conclude we are reminded that the goal we set ourselves as guardians and educators is that of shaping your child’s future and how your child’s talents are developed. The Covid 19 Pandemic has demonstrated that there remains as always, a deep need to approach this intentionally and strategically, it should not be taken for granted. Through all this, we also consider that at the end of the day, “the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of the parents” -Jane D Hull
- “Roles of Parents in their Child’s Education During COVID-19 and Thereafter “by Fred Ndhine published on 3rd April 2020 available at: https://www.novapioneer.com/kenya/blog/roles-of-parents-in-their-childs-education-during-covid-19-and-thereafter/
- Policy Brief: Education during COVID-19 and beyond AUGUST 2020 from the UN website available at: https://www.un.org/development/desa/dspd/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2020/08/sg_policy_brief_covid-19_and_education_august_2020.pdf
- “COVID-19. Advice for children, parents and professionals-What you need to know about the virus to protect you and your family” by UNICEF available at https://www.unicef.org/romania/coronavirus accessed on April 14, 2021.
- “At least 1 in 7 children and young people has lived under stay-at-home policies for most of the last year, putting mental health and well-being at risk – UNICEF
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, UNICEF urges greater investment in mental health services” by UNICEF available on https://www.unicef.org/romania/press-releases/least-1-7-children-and-young-people-has-lived-under-stay-home-policies-most-last accessed on April 14, 2021.
- “Effects of COVID-19 on College Students’ Mental Health in the United States: Interview Survey Study by Changwon Son, Sudeep Hegde, Alec Smith, Xiaomei Wang, and Farzan Sasangohar, corresponding author available on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7473764/ accessed on April 14, 2021.
- “10 smart ways to save for your child’s education” by Page financials April 10 2018 available on https://guardian.ng/features/education/10-smart-ways-to-save-for-your-childs-education/
- “Take baby steps to secure your child’s future” by Gaurav Rajput March 2011available on https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/money-you/take-baby-steps-to-secure-your-childs-future/articleshow/7637774.cms
- “What parents should know about pastoral care in their children’s school by Excellence in Expat Education” Jan 13, 2020 available on https://eeeaward.com/what-parents-should-know-about-pastoral-care-in-their-childrens-school/
- Beyond reopening schools: How education can emerge stronger than before COVID-19 by Emiliana Vegas and Rebecca Winthrop Tuesday, September 8, 2020 available on https://www.brookings.edu/research/beyond-reopening-schools-how-education-can-emerge-stronger-than-before-covid-19/