Home schooling is trending these days pushed by many forces internal and external to the education system. In home schooling, parents educate their kids at home instead of sending them to schools. The venue for education is not limited to the home though: museums, parks, the market, and trips can be used to teach children. The main issue is parents fulfill all teaching roles solely or combining with tutors.
Home schooling has been driven by a combination of factors: dissatisfaction on the delivery, result and outcome of traditional schools; philosophical disagreement with the purpose and impact of schools (that schools kill the natural and spontaneous capability of children to learn); recurrence of natural and man-made disasters (infectious and contagious diseases, conflict, and natural disasters); and the advent of rapid and easy to access instructional technologies (like the Internet and many educational applications) that parents can utilize are some of them.
Home schooling enables parents and children to: avoid traffic, provide flexible scheduling, adapt a unique curriculum and learning strategies for the child, provide safe learning environment, and create a strong child-parent bondage. But home schooling also has shortfalls: socialization difficulties for the child; higher workload on parents; role shift challenges from being just parents they need to be both teachers and parents; and lack of schooling facilities. Home schooling can also bring about a serious social exclusion challenge given that it can exclude less educated, overworked, and low socio-economic parents. Hence home schooling can only add value to the existing system than being a competing venue to provide education.
Ethiopia continues to face serious challenges of school closures triggered by conflict and other disasters. If the last some years are any guide, the challenges will continue for a long while. Ethiopia has also been investing in its ICT infrastructure that can easily be tapped to education. With this backdrop, considering home schooling in settings like metropolis Addis and other bigger towns can be an option. It could be piloted not as a solo approach as we know it, but as a blended approach to fill in gaps. School closures triggered by COVID-19 pandemics or other natural disasters can be supplemented with home schooling. Like they say, it takes a village to raise a child; it should take a village to educate a child too. It is time for government, development partners, schools, and parents to coalesce efforts to exploit such hybrid approaches to child education in times of need. Time to talk on multiple approaches to child education.
About the authorMengistu Hailu (PhD)