Education: Say no to hybrid learning

Nelson Mandela Fist 4 Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa

Sun, 6 Jun 2021 Source: Joe Kingsley Eyiah

According to Nelson Mandela of blessed memory, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” I couldn’t agree with him the more!

The world over, each country has developed an education system that ensures the best for all of its children. Canada is no exception. However, in Canada, each province/territory has the right to create education laws and set conditions for access to education. This makes the provincial governments responsible for providing education to meet the needs of their children.

More often than not conservative governments are prone to sacrificing public education on the altar of privatization. It is only by the vigilance and advocacy of other stakeholders in education such as teachers, parents and concerned workers’ unions that public education survives attempts by governments ‘to put it on sale for the rich and affluent in the society at the detriment of their ordinary and vulnerable children.’ The story here is not different from the Ford government’s treatment of public education in the province of Ontario in Canada.

The Elementary Teachers of Toronto (ETT), the largest union of teachers in Canada who work with mostly immigrant families in the country is asking parents and all good willing people in the province to say no to the hybrid learning the Ford government through the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) wants to bring to our classrooms next school year. The teachers’ union has made public the following strong statements:

“Having successfully kept hybrid learning at bay this school year, ETT has learned that the TDSB has opened the door to hybrid learning in our classrooms for the 2021/2022 school year. This will have a tremendously negative impact on student learning, teacher workload, and the future of public education in Ontario, and it is vital that our employer hears directly from you.”

“ Our members and the public education system are under direct attack from the Ford Government and the urgent threat that hybrid learning presents to our working conditions, and students’ learning conditions, is something that we have not faced in many years.”~ETT

What Is Hybrid Learning?:

A hybrid approach to course delivery combines face-to-face classroom instruction with online activities. This approach reduces the amount of seat time in a traditional face-to-face course and moves more of the course delivery online.

In brief, hybrid learning is good for children whose parents will have the resources and means to support them during the virtual learning time. Teachers in in-person classrooms will have to pay teaching attention to the part of their students who are learning online at the same time. This unfair to both the teachers and the students involved. Children in the most challenging neighbourhoods of Toronto will not benefit from hybrid learning.

The Ford government does not want to spend enough money to support public education in the province. And the Toronto municipality which houses many immigrant children is being denied a fair cake of the education budget.

We are at a critical moment, and we need concerned parents in Ontario to join forces with ETT to speak out to force the TDSB to reverse course on this issue.

Let’s express our concerns about hybrid learning to our elected representatives (school Board Trustees and Members of the Provincial Parliament). Let’s say NO to hybrid learning!

Columnist: Joe Kingsley Eyiah
Related Articles: