The school term has started. But no students are allowed on campus.
In keeping with the government’s COVID-19 containment and prevention policy, schools across the kingdom of Thailand, from the rural areas to international schools have implemented online learning.
If you are a “concerned” parent, there’s an upside. With online learning, you can “eavesdrop” on what’s going on in the classroom at www.dltv.ac.th.
But also, everyone else can eavesdrop, which opens another can of worms. What if the government monitors what’s being taught in class?
Be that as it may, online learning is — at least for the time being—“the new normal.”
She wants her son in school
I have a friend who’s a single mom. Her son attends a state primary school. She works as a Support Operation Officer for a company.
“As a working single mom, because my son can’t go to school, it’s costing me twice or three times the money,” she said.
“If you were to ask the parents, we would rather our children go to school.”
Through the lockdown period, her son has been at home. The grandparents can’t help looking after her son, as they don’t live nearby. But she’s fortunate enough to have the financial means to hire a teacher for a “teach at home” service.
“For this online learning, I hired a teacher, one of the teachers from the school, to be with my son all day from Monday to Friday while I go to work, and she can make sure that he studies,” she said.
The service costs her 5,000 baht per month.
“I want the schools to be open,” she added.
“My son can be protected. He has been wearing a mask at school since PM2.5 pollution. He is fine with it.”
The voice of parents and students
I was watching Voice TV’s Talking Thailand, the 18 May episode. They did a segment about online learning, interviewing many parents.
This is what one parent said:
“Parents have to take the time to sit at home with the children. Normally, parents would drop the kids at school and then go to work. Then the parenting starts again after school. At school, the kids have a chance to be with friends, to be in a society and to co-exist with others.”
Another parent said:
“I don’t know if this kind of learning is good for the kids. The kids would have better concentration at school, rather than at home, in front of the computer. I don’t want to delay the opening of schools. If the number of infections is little or none, then we should let the kids go back to school.”
One female student said:
“Normally, I would have eight classes, for about six hours total. Some of the courses cannot be taught through TV, and in accounting courses, it’s important to be close to the teacher in order to ask for advice and to exchange knowledge with friends in order to understand the materials better.”
A primary school student said:
“It’s not very fun, because I don’t get to see my friends and talk to them. It’s lonely to be by myself. There’s no one to talk to, no one to help out with lessons. It’s boring.”
Her experience has been positive
There are two sides to every coin.
Melina Gin’s two sons attend an international school in Bangkok. Both are at secondary level and take Zoom classes that the school themselves organizes.
Melina said she would rate her kids’ school online learning program a strong eight out of ten.
“Overall, I would have to say that the experience has been positive for me. There have been some challenges, but if the students have any problems, we can contact a teacher individually or a school counselor,” she said.
Melina is a full-time mother. She doesn’t have to go to work, as such she can be at home to supervise her children.
The kids have gone crazy
Megan Leon has two children, both attend elementary level at an international school.
“It’s not easy. I really value what the teachers are doing but this is not school for them. It’s like a 24-hour day-care,” she said.
Megan and her husband are very busy with work throughout the day. She admitted to feeling guilty for not being able to be there for the kids 100%.
As she put it, “to be on their asses” all the time.
Each day, her children would attend three to four Zoom classes. One session would last for about ten minutes.
“I feel like they [the kids] can do a lot more than what they’re doing right now,” she said.
She wants her children to go back to school.
“If malls and restaurants are open under precautions, why can’t our kids go back to school?”
“At least have alternating days. It would get the kids out of the house and use their brains.”
“By 2pm, all the kids in my [condo] building have gone crazy.”