Strengthening Parental Support for Children’s Learning to Prevent Learning Loss due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Extended periods of learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic can cause learning loss among school children. Parents’ active role has become a necessity in monitoring their children’s learning development when they are learning from home. Their role becomes an integral part of the children’s education supported by teachers and the school. This shows that children’s education is a joint responsibility.

Adopting this new role is not an easy task for many parents. Generally, like in Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara, the parents are not accustomed to accompanying their children to study after school. Likewise, the children are not used to studying with their parents.

According to Rosfina Mendes, a parent of a 3rd grade student in Waimongu Catholic Primary School, Sumba Tengah District, since the pandemic, the reason why parents rarely accompany their children in their study is not merely because they want to let go of the responsibilities to the school completely. Rather, they do not have sufficient time to do it. “I am only available at night since I have to work during the day,” she said. As a housewife, she has chores to do and go to the field with her husband to work as farmers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she spends up to 1.5 hours at night assisting her son in completing the tasks given by their teachers.

As a junior high school graduate, she understands that her capacity cannot be compared to other parents who are college graduates. “However, I still try to help my son understand the subjects. When working on the tasks, I do not give the answers immediately. Instead, I provide examples and guide him until they find the answers on his own,” she explained. In addition, she utilizes the internet to find answers to questions she cannot solve.

However, she admitted that her assistance is limited only focused on how her child can finish the tasks given by teachers. “Tasks were assigned to the students from available textbooks. Then, the students were assigned to read and answer the provided questions. So, I only assisted my son in answering the provided questions. I could not provide different or additional materials. As you know, parents are not equal to teachers,” said Mendes.

In August 2020, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research, and Technology, issued Ministerial Decree of Minister of Education and Culture Number 719/P/2020 on Guidelines for Curriculum Implementation in Educational Units under Special Circumstances. The curriculum focused on essential competencies. When announcing the new curriculum, modules for teachers, parents and students were made available on the ministry website for anyone to download. For parents especially, the modules are valuable resources that can help them assist their children in learning better.

To support better access to these modules, especially after observing the challenges that many parents like Mendes have, throughout May and June 2021, INOVASI had printed and distributed approximately 167.000 literacy and numeracy modules for parents. The module aims to strengthen parent’s ability in assisting their children in learning from home. Aside from parents’ module, about 1.400 teachers and students’ modules were also distributed to INOVASI partner schools and several non-partner schools in four districts of Sumba Island and Nagekeo District in Flores Island.

Parents’ module socialization at school

Mendes admitted that the Special Curriculum module for parents helped make the tasks easier. “It’s more focused because it’s arranged in such a way that it’s easy to follow,” she explained.

Monica Anitya D., a parent of a 1st grade student at Waihibur Public Primary School, Central Sumba District, shared the same view. According to her, the Special Curriculum module for parents is an interesting innovation, comprising rich content, “It is fascinating because this is the first learning (assistance) module specially designed for parents, full of interesting pictures, as well as engaging stories,” she added.

Waihibur Primary School and Waimamongu Catholic Primary School are two of the eight target schools for the Special Curriculum module pilot in the Central Sumba District. Parents from those eight schools have received a module designed for them to guide their children in using the student module. They were also given instructions on how to use the module through short seminars held in each school.

Some parents still had challenges in using the modules due to their low literacy levels. Neighbors who are literate are often asked to help with their children’s learning. This is another reality on the ground showing that children’s education requires collaboration and support from everyone, particularly during these challenging times of COVID-19 pandemic.

INOVASI is working in four provinces in Indonesia to improve students’ learning outcomes. The dissemination of this specifically designed module for parents is one of the massive efforts to respond to challenges in education, in this case, learning loss due to the pandemic. Other practices such as providing support to teachers and conducting assessments are continuously implemented to help children avoid such academic setbacks.

 

23 July 2021

Strengthening Parental Support for Children’s Learning to Prevent Learning Loss due to COVID-19 Pandemic