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The image epitomises a cretin in evacuative posture, a clueless Priya Manickchand frontally squatted, abutting a 21+ months education denied child. For obvious it’s to all, the feral blaster coat was hastily shedded, in masquerading a creature of empathy, compassion and sensitivity. But the school disengaged child’s comportment belies her posturing, with clear recollection that strip-clubs were reopened long before his school, to deliver face-to-face pole anatomy gyration classes.
Thus from our pantheons, an expert opinion was sought, astutely decoding aforesaid deportment as one burdened by longstanding cognitive constipation, resistant to intellectual laxatives, yet worryingly left untethered by the pay to sleep, Dr. Nicolette Henry. In fact, this sleeping beauty, under the spell of a political witch, is with busy hands preparing for USAID, thus the feral blaster responsibilities she disparaged as inconsequential.
Having clarified that, this is our recollection, of March 2020 registering school closures, to limit Covid-19 transmission, such that by April 2020, with closures peaking, 1.6 billion students, over 90% of the world’s total, were affected. But by summer, with schools recessed for holidays, the average student had missed almost 50 school days, 25% of the school year. Thus, to mitigate learning lost, governments around the world responded with remote learning, of which the UK was largely online, up to and including teacher-led lessons. But Guyana, with unique set of circumstances, meant that remote learning was never going to be straight forward, evident in the mishmash of teaching modalities employed vis-à-vis online, television and hardcopy work. And with such ad hoc delivery, the necessity to reopen schools first, was transparently obvious. But not for PPP, reopening schools last, only after international exposure by the World Bank report, lamenting their remote education uptake as the worse of the worst.
But truth be told, research published at the beginning of the school closures, of which PPP is cognisant, questioned remote learning effectiveness in students’ learning. For modelling based on data from ‘summer learning loss,’ informed that students would learn little to nothing, while schools are closed but with remote, including online learning, the losses are only partially offset.
And for these reasons, UNICEF among others, recommended ad nauseam, that schools should be reopened first and closed last. As a matter of fact, these columns articulated same on multiple occasions, even bringing to the fore the dangers of delayed schools reopening. But an unbothered PPP prioritised the business community, with Dr. Nicolette Henry and Joe Harmon sedated. Then registered 21 months, reactive to the World Bank report, PPP sardine packed our children, breaking laws in the process, into Omicron classrooms. Thus, the chickens have now come home to roost, the burdens of their education denial policies, painfully unravelling.
For economic hysteresis speaks to an event in the economy that persists even after the factors that led to that event have been removed, or otherwise run their course, eg difficulties in regaining employment after a recession. And from this abstraction, education hysteresis was coined, encompassing the negative consequences of protracted school closures, eg the increased likelihood of disengagement from the education system. Of which, the underpinning factor is a recalibration and establishment of a new normal, eg not attending school. But this concept was articulated no less than 10 times in these Mark’s take columns, dating back to a year, evident in this snippet, March 2021, title “Gambling with our children’s futures;”
“Education hysteresis, the relationship between prolonged school closure and disengagement, cannot be ignored. For education hysteresis speaks to an extended period away from school with devalued importance the consequence, in the eyes of many students. Data out of France revealed that 8% of students weren’t contactable, two weeks after school closure. In Los Angeles, 13% weren’t contactable three weeks after the lockdown. The painful reality is, the vast majority of these children, are from low socio-economic groups, who will completely disengage from the education system. But this hasn’t bothered PPP. For their short-term thinking deludes their belief that simply reopening schools will solve all our children woes. But certainly, prematurely reopening the economy as schools remain closed, will bring short-term gains but what about the long-term social, mental, financial and economic cost? PPP-is it worth it?”
Remedy and afflictions
Now having deserted our children for 2yrs, the education deniers in PPP are traversing the land, posturing a valiant search of slogan, “Recovery Operation.” And with cameras rolling, they present at selected doorsteps, manufacturing headlines- “Priya locates 534 school absentees.” But obvious it’s, cognisant they’re that the horses have long bolted, thus theirs is an excercise in scoring political points. In fact, knowledge is also theirs that the vast majority of education hysteresis, are from the lower socioeconomic groups, that desperately need to provide through employment. Thus, with PPP education hysteresis long concretised, confident we are that Priya simply located, a task any creeping toddler could’ve achieved, 534 addresses and not school returnees. Thus the explanation, of a binary education hysteresis, physical and psychological, with a fraction of the absentees located, confronted they will be with children of psychological hysteresis, having to face the uphill task of reintegrating in the education system. And it’s for these reasons, UNICEF, OECD, WHO and these columns, argued for schools reopening first, cognisant that prevention is the only remedy for education hysteresis. But that wasn’t to be, as a conveniently muddled PPP, struggles with their reopening chronology, necessitating a reminder from a Mark’s take column snippet, title “You’ve tied our hands,” published March 2021.
“Our mom’s heart is lacerated. She beseeched the school to welcome her two. But denied she was. For what visited her visual fields. Teared her eyes. PPP reopened rum shop. PPP reopened Strip clubs. PPP reopened bars. PPP reopened short time brothels. PPP reopened hotels. PPP reopened clubs. PPP reopened stores. PPP reopened ports. PPP reopened airports. PPP reopened malls. PPP reopened movie theatres. PPP reopened restaurants. PPP closed our futures. PPP reopened everywhere but schools. It’s a year. A year and counting. Since an education was denied us. What bad have we done? What have we done so bad? Why your noose around our necks? Handcuffs on our wrists? Shackles on our ankles? What ever happened to your no child left behind?”
Thus with schools reopened schools last, after 21 months, the consequential afflictions. An unknown number were sexually abused, with 70+ pregnant. An unknown number physical abused. An unknown number of psychological burdens. Tens of thousands robbed of a future. Tens of thousands education hysteresis. An entire generation lost. But worse awaits. Was it worth it PPP? Was it really worth it?