As time goes by

As time goes by,the pressure to return to our well-known world, old habits, extended families, friends, workplaces, and preferred leisure activities seems to increase. But for those of you having kids and recognising that schools’ role on children’s development is far beyond cognitive acquisitions, the reopening of these institutions may be felt both as an urgency and a source of worries. What kind of actions and compromises are we reaching to guarantee this restart? Are they all sanitary based?

António Guterres, the United Nations Secretary-General, called on governments and donors to focus on Education. So, the Global Education Coalition was founded to assist distance learning and facilitate the reopening of schools. On April, UNESCO, UNICEF, the World Bank and the World Food Programme published a report to inform the decision-making process for the schools’ restart, proposing a guiding framework for it.

Being clear that the global school closures in response to this pandemic crisis has threatened many children’s rights, the reopening schools strategy tries to bring children back, particularly the marginalised ones, as a way to prevent violence, exploitation and other threats, and assure immunization, school feeding, mental health and psychosocial support: all the incommensurable developmental side effects of being at formal education, far beyond cognitive acrobatics and technical skills. 

Throughout the document, policy, financing, safe operations, learning, reaching the most marginalised and wellbeing/protection are debated, and a clear plan is presented to prepare and live this reopening.  

Maybe we can read this report while listening to that song immortalized in Casablanca – “As time goes by” –, when the war was erupting in Europe and Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman recalled those wondrous times they had together before the war. Because, with so many differences, we may get nostalgic about the past. But if it is true that things may not look the same anymore, and that they may not even be the same again, maybe this is our opportunity to look towards more fulfilling educational systems, that make us more confident about the fragilities of this world through a compromised call to learning and concerted action upon life.

Contribution by:
Ana Mouta, Ana Paulino and Inês Sá Couto  are Pedagogy Specialists at jp.ik.