Alternative Education for Learners with Down syndrome during Covid 19 Pandemic
Covid 19 has posed a significant impact in the education sector all over the world. Bangladesh is not an exception too in this respect. Following the global trends and current practices, the education scenario is also get changed in our country for the last couple of months. Many schools, universities began commenced imparting education through online platform nowadays due to lockdown situation and ongoing covid situation. Since education is the key to learners’ development and intellectual growth, everybody feels like starting the education programmes through alternative means. The commonest platform in this line is Zoom. Many learners can be connected simultaneously through zoom meeting software with audio-visual features. The learners can attend the lecture, webinar, presentation at ease through this modern facility staying at home or remote places and keeping themselves safe from the coronavirus infection.
Down Syndrome Society of Bangladesh, a national platform for people and parents with Down syndrome is providing basic education and life skills training to the children and adults with Down syndrome since last couple of years. Currently nearly 60 adults and self-advocates are receiving life skills and health education under this programme. From the very start of lockdown across the country, the well-known DSSB has changed their education strategy considering the safety issue of the learners from covid 19. Sarder A. Razzak, chairman of Down Syndrome Society of Bangladesh, told that they had to also depend on online platform to impart training and education based on the current pandemic situation. “We don’t like to hamper the education activities and that’s why we have selected the online platform for the greater benefit of the learners so that they can attend the lectures by staying at home “, he added.
The Society has already conducted twelve online sessions since the beginning of April 2020. Many promising children and adults with Down syndrome has connected from other countries like United Kingdom, India, Pakistan, Dubai, Australia in these online sessions. The instructors and the learners are happy to get connected with each other and share their day-to-day experiences and learning in the online sessions conducted. The online sessions has now become a global platform for children and adults with Down syndrome living in various corners of the globe. Ms. Shahanaj Parven Chowdhury, director of the Down syndrome resource center mentioned that this platform has created a unique example of disseminating knowledge, sharing country experiences on covid protection, awareness techniques, health tips, safety measures and behavior pattern for the global children and adults with Down syndrome. She emphasized that these online sessions will play a vital role to carry forward the skill development of the children and adults. To continue these online sessions and to create more opportunities for the disadvantaged children and adults with this platform, they require more smartphones, tabs which will enable to reach and ensure maximum participation of the children and adults with this online education platform. She looks forward to the collaboration and support of the kind hearted individuals, corporate bodies, government offices and IT companies to come forward for the ultimate benefit of these children and adults with Down syndrome to continue their online education during this worldwide pandemic.