Another dot in the blogosphere?

Exposes, not widens

Posted on: September 11, 2021

Video source

You do not have to watch this feature by CNA to point out the flaw in their premise. 

The premise: School closures caused by regional pandemic lockdowns have widened the gap between the have and have-nots.

The flaw: The pandemic has exposed the previously unseen or ignored gaps. The wide disparities have always been there. We have either been unaware or we have ignored them. When we admit that such gaps exist, a media group sensationalises them as widening.

This is not to say that the yawning gaps are not urgent or unimportant. We need to collectively bridge and fill those gaps by donating our time, effort, money, and resources. 

We also need to stop blaming online learning for exacerbating these gaps (see its lede: costs of online learning). Online learning enables continuity even though it has been largely relegated to a last resort. This shift has laid bare the poor efforts of stakeholders in not preparing infrastructural broadband, socioeconomic policies, pedagogical development, etc.

About five minutes into the video, the storyline vilifies online learning with unspecified sources on the harmfulness of screen time. The flawed research behind these claims has been exposed, so we need to be more critical about what the loose treats that media tosses about.

School and schooling are important. Among its many functions are providing basic literacy, social interaction, and childcare. Schools and schooling are not without its flaws, but place them beside something new and scary and it is the latter that seems worse.

A more balanced video feature would not just romanticise school and bash online learning. It could have highlighted the efforts of governments, corporations, and individuals to enable effective out-of-school and online learning. It could also have highlighted how the latter augments schooling and improves practices. But it did not because that would have exposed ugly priorities.

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