COVID-19: A Childhood Prison

Hissan Khandakar
 | প্রকাশিত : ২৩ মে ২০২০, ১২:৩১

As I marked off yet again another day in lockdown, I breathed a sigh. “When will this pandemic end!” I thought to myself. Well, it was weird to stay home all the time, I mean there were no classes, and I longed for a vacation outside! At that, I came back to realise the abominable reality. This pandemic has curbed a primitive right of nearly every child, that is, going outside! Though we might not think about going out that much in this “digital age”, being stuck at home is unfavourable. As I bemoaned over the “prison” that this pandemic has created, I came to realise what other things children might be missing out during this time. But, to make the best out of the situation, there are a lot of things we can do to escape this prison. After all, the only reason we are staying at home is to protect ourselves! With this motif in mind, I came to realise that we can do a lot of things we usually seem to miss out in life during the lockdown, and perhaps create our world inside of this “prison”. As a result, I started to plan my escape from this great “childhood prison”, as the great artist Freddie Mercury once sang “I Want to Break Free!”.

The Escape Plan

Firstly, you’ll need a plan if you wish to “escape” this “prison” perfectly (and also try not to get caught too!). So, your routine will act as your ultimate “escape plan”. It doesn’t have to be that convoluted, but it must set your life with the correct disciplines. It should include a proper time to sleep and take a nap, study, have some fun, spend some time with your family and more if you want. But make sure to make a routine that is feasible for you to follow, because if you follow it properly, you’ll never feel bored! Also, try not to elongate your sleeping and napping hours, as the old English proverb goes – “The early bird catches the worm”.

A Quality Time with Family

I bet most kids like me have working parents who usually work from dawn till dusk. Sometimes, they even work late shifts, at night! This has led to a huge gap in the parent-children bonding over the last few years. Also, parents feel tired after a long day’s work, so they become exasperated. But during this pandemic, most parents are staying at home. So instead of spending your entire day facing the screen, you could spend some time with your parents! Watching movies, playing cool family games (like Ludo, Chess and UNO) or just a simple family discussion kills most of the monotony. Perhaps a bit of family time isn’t bad after all!

Relax with Music!

Do you have a musical instrument lying around your house? Well, grab it and start playing it then! It won’t hurt to learn something new, be it a guitar, piano etc. You could also learn to play some famous songs, and can try to impress your friends when school reopens. If you already know how to play an instrument, you’ve got a convenience! Besides, it can help you unwind. So, whenever you feel stressed (if for any reason), just play your favourite song!

Arts and Crafts & Prose and Poetry

Have you ever wanted to give life to the inner artist/writer/poet inside of you? I mean, if you have lauded famous paintings, read through riveting stories and have recited the finest poetry, you surely wanted to have a creation of your own, right? Well, you could give it a shot if you haven’t already! Try drawing a beautiful sketch, writing whatever story you feel like, and writing a poem about anything you like. Remember, your creation doesn’t have to make sense at all. So, you can glamorize it later on. But do try, above all. This will also help you to pass the time.

Read All of Your Leftover Books

Have you bought multitudes of books during book fairs (such as the Ekushey Book Fair) but didn’t get the time to finish them all? Well, you could begin reading many of those books during this lockdown. Just pick one right off the shelf and start reading, see if you like that book or not. Undoubtedly, reading is way better than staring at a screen. But don’t judge a book by its cover. A conceivably boring-looking book can have an interesting and sometimes a hilarious story! If you have finished reading these books, and are looking to read some more, you could always read an eBook on your phone or tablet. All in all, books might be just the tool that you need to make a spectacular “escape”!

And Now for the Worst Part....

I bet you didn’t see this coming, but you have to remember your studies. You’re probably wondering why you need to study at all, I mean your schools are closed, and your semester/certificate exams are supposedly abrogated. However, don’t let this pandemic rob you of knowledge, because, if you haven’t already realised, your schools will test you in some way later on. Many of you have already started online schooling, while many of you are learning through Bangladesh Television. This has been done so that you have your studies in practice. A few days back I came to read a news article, written by an educationist named Dr Debarshi Mukherjee, Head of the Department of Business Management at Tripura University, Agartala, India. The article, titled “Rise of Ekalavyas: Education in the Post COVID-19 Era” (Indian Observer Post, 3rd of May, 2020), illustrates the effects and aftermath COVID-19 will have on education itself. In the article, he explains the important role of teachers during this pandemic, how parents are reacting to the management of online classes, and how schools across the Indian Subcontinent should begin utilising online education, based on the framework of Education 4.0, a new method of education built from modern technological advancements, according to the pace of the student. According to this article, we used to follow a practical method of learning in our subcontinent in ancient times (roughly, our version of Education 1.0). This conventional method used to be very widespread, that is, until the Brits came along and changed our subcontinent forever. We now follow their “traditional” method of learning (Education 1.0), which is a memory-based rote learning system, taught by a teacher through a book and in a classroom, with frequent fluctuations with Education 2.0, which is, using the internet for extra resources. However, this pandemic might just show us why we need to incorporate Education 4.0, which is an upgrade to our current online classes, which is Education 3.0. Now that was just a small history crunch, but learning used to be a very different thing back in the day, and we used to learn things very quickly and easily. To me, his article was very pragmatic. It has made me think about the benefits of Education 4.0 en masse, and how it will put a greater effect on society.

Indeed, this pandemic has taught us to be both patient and creative. There are many ways to escape this “prison” of boredom, it just needs your alacrity, that’s all. Now that you know all about these methods of “escaping”, you should take care of your health, stay indoors, stay safe, and follow your routine, also-known-as your “ultimate escape plan”!

(The writer is a student of Playpen School, Dhaka. He is 13 years old and is studying in Standard VIII. Email: hissanbd@gmail.com. The Author dedicates this article to educationist Dr. Debarshi Mukherjee, who inspired him with the thought of the framework of Education 4.0, and the traditional methodology of learning in the Indian Subcontinent.)

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