Discovering distance learning

Our students left in a hurry, shortly after the lockdown was announced. They tried downloading as much material as they could, packed their books and notes and clothes, and struggled to find means of transport to bring them to their parents.

A couple of days later, our home was deserted. A place always filled with the hustle and bustle of busy students was now desolate. Piles of books and notes were the only things that directly reminded of the students that had left the building.

After the initial shock of the pandemic, and of being submitted to one of the most strictest lockdowns in the world, our team in Marrakech quickly tried to get a grip on the situation. What can we do for our students under these circumstances? What makes sense, and what doesn’t? We decided we couldn’t wait and see, because most likely their time as students – the time to enjoy a quality education – was going to be cut short due to this pandemic.

So what do you do, if the internet connection of our students in their home villages is too weak for Zoom or Teams? Work with small groups on Whatsapp! A maximum of eight students per group and their teacher working for an hour several times a week. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing.

We created a sense of community online, to help our students deal with this peculiar and frightening situation. And while one of our team members concentrated on creating a distance learning program with our regular teachers, another called all the parents to underline the importance of giving their daughters enough time for their studies. Because the exams are going to take place sooner than later, we hope. So helping out in the household is perfectly allright, but herding sheep for weeks on end, not so much.