Our children are at home. Their teachers are on their computers. And Bahrain is proactively working toward the eradication of Coronavirus within its borders.
We all understand why schooling has gone online, but many of us are uncomfortable with it. It’s hard to get our children to focus.
It’s nearly impossible to ensure their regular social and physical activity. And as parents, we are looking for answers and support.
How do we motivate and encourage our children during this period of online education? Will they learn just as much as in a classroom? What is my role as a parent during this period?
Without any doubt, it is clear that Bahrain has been proactive and responsive. Moving all teaching and learning to online environments has put safeguards in place to ensure health across generations and communities.
But during this period, it is also important to recognise that all of us approach learning in different ways. Some of our children will work hard to avoid independent work; others will be happy to be away from the inevitable noise of a classroom.
Some of our children will mourn the loss of structure; others will relish completing schoolwork at 3am while wearing slippers and pajamas.
There are so many other varied responses, and without doubt, nearly every response possible has been exhibited in my house among my two daughters, at least at some point, since the start of the closure.
What I also know is that private schools and universities, the University of Bahrain, the Education Ministry, and Bahrain Polytechnic are all working hard to ensure that learning continues in this period that campuses are closed.
I have seen each educational institution in Bahrain spend considerable time ensuring that all students in the country not only continue their educational experiences but also thrive in this unique period.
To my fellow parents, both Bahrainis and expats, I urge all to support the teachers of this country.
They care so deeply about all our students, and they are working around the clock to employ very difficult teaching strategies.
At the University of Bahrain, in particular, I have sat in many meetings, whereby participants spent hours trying to figure out the best ways to ensure continued educational success for all our students. I witness teachers at schools throughout the Education Ministry dedicated to providing high quality learning for all students. And I also witness private schools and universities innovating to ensure their quality of instruction is not diminished.
Most importantly, I see our students – public and private, university and school, Bahraini and expat – rising to this important occasion.
I am left with nothing less than extraordinary pride for this country and happiness that this is the place where I get to live, work, and learn during this global health crisis.
On a personal level, I can say for certain that I am a better educator, and my daughters are better learners, as a result of all that Bahrain is doing to keep its residents and citizens healthy and safe in this difficult time.
Dr Purinton is dean at Bahrain Teachers College, University of Bahrain