For almost a year, schools across the country have been shut, in lieu of the global pandemic, Covid-19. Though modern technology has provided opportunities to ensure continuity of learning, there is no denying that students are missing out, academically, as most of the learning happens inside the classroom. Without the disciplined structure of an academic setting like a school, there is a high chance of learning loss and also increase in learning gaps and drop-out rates.
Faced with this problem, Learning Links Foundation, in partnership with Emerson Process, through their remedial learning program, saw an opportunity in this time of adversity – engaging the parents actively in a child’s education. Though there is no doubt that parents have a significant influence in their child’s education process, their role has never required them to step into the shoes of an educator. Moreover, in 80% of the families, fathers go out to work, and the mothers are busy with household chores. In addition, parents often lack an understanding of the way education is imparted in schools. However, given the prevailing situation and the fact that they were the only adults around their children, the time had come to make them hands-on education partners.
The Foundation set in motion a plan to tackle this, and the answer came in the form of ‘Parents Are Teachers Too’, an initiative designed to equip parents to become the educators. The intent of the initiative was to ensure that children are not faced with learning loss.
The idea was well-received by most of the parents, and the program team was quick to start providing them with the required support. On the third Saturday of every month, the team assisted the parents in teaching one topic from the curriculum to their children. They were appreciative of this, and also took on the responsibility of helping their children complete the tasks, assignments and homework given to them. This support reignited the students’ passion for learning.
As the initiative grew stronger, parents grew keen on going the extra mile to ensure that their children are learning. In fact, though a survey conducted early on indicated that it was primarily the mothers who had taken on the role of educators, after a little encouragement from the team, fathers too became involved, and enjoyed the teaching-learning process.
Through this, students were assured of the right academic support, and were thus able to inculcate good studying habits at home. They became more regular in attending classes and submitting assignments. Though they had previously found it difficult to study with their parents, they now look forward to doing tasks together. Till date, this initiative has provided academic support to over 1100 students during the pandemic, in Chakan and Talegaon, Pune.
“This initiative has helped in developing children’s academic skills, while also providing social interaction and productive play”, says Anuradha, a parent of a 4th grade student. “As parents, this has given us the opportunity to experience and see what our children are learning through these activities”, she further reflects. Says Ambika, another parent, “These activities have helped us understand our child’s needs, likes and dislikes, interests and hobbies”.
The impact of ‘Parents Are Teachers Too’ has inspired school leaders, teachers, and even local governments. Recently, the local government started a similar initiative, ‘Palak Mitra’, also designed to leverage parents to avoid learning loss.
To ensure the best educational opportunities and growth prospects for a child, the parents, teacher and student need to work together, and this initiative facilitates just that. As it grows stronger, the belief is that the overall education process will improve, through the active involvement of parents.