Youth learning and self-development amid pandemic

The global pandemic, now in its third year, is affecting many aspects of life in Indonesia and around the world.

One of the aspects of life most affected by the pandemic is education, and teaching and learning activities must be adapted to meet the standards of health protocols.

Indonesia launched hybrid distance learning on March 24, 2020, 22 days after the country reported its first COVID-19 case.

This year marks the third year since hybrid distance learning began.

With the relatively rapid transition away from in-person learning activities, several issues have arisen for teachers, parents, and students during new hybrid distance learning activities.

Asep Sapaat, an education expert at the Sahabat Muda Foundation, said hybrid learning systems are not effective.

“To be honest, we are not ready for hybrid learning in a pandemic. Yes. If you ask me whether it’s ideal or not, it’s definitely not ideal,” he explained.

According to the Ministry of Education and Culture’s August 2020 report on policy coordination for learning activities, parents, teachers and students experienced many obstacles in trying to adapt to the distance learning system.

One of the biggest challenges for parents and teachers has been the difficulty of supporting students participating in distance learning.

Additionally, the ministry reported that most parents were unable to accompany them to study sessions due to work or other household chores.

The report also said students experienced the greatest obstacles. They reported having trouble concentrating, complaining about the difficulty of the problems set by their teachers, and feeling increasingly stressed because of loneliness.

Such isolation can lead to anxiety and depression, especially in teenagers.

Fortunately, as Indonesia celebrates its 77th anniversary of independence this year, the country has further relaxed COVID-19 restrictions, allowing young people to return to learning activities in physical classrooms.

Based on the Circular No. 4 of the Ministry of Education and Culture of 2020 on the implementation of educational policies during the COVID-19 emergency, schools in the “green or yellow” (lower number of COVID cases) zones are allowed from January this year Resume and conduct face-to-face learning.

Some schools are allowed to operate at 50% capacity, effectively splitting classes into two sessions, morning and afternoon, to ensure physical distancing.

Public secondary school 99 in North Jakarta’s Yellow Zone has been allowed to reopen at full capacity with face-to-face learning.

However, school teachers say some students still face obstacles to continue face-to-face learning after two years of online learning.

High school teacher Febriana Eka Putri says there are some glaring problems with hybrid learning that affect students’ academic performance and social lives.

“In terms of effectiveness, our learning system is still quite lacking, especially when students have been through distance learning for two years. I did,” added Putri.

She also talked about the social and emotional impact of the students’ isolation from not being able to interact with their peers directly for two full years.

Face-to-face learning activities may not be ideal during the still-ongoing pandemic, but it does not affect the psyche of some students, allowing them to positively adapt and grow themselves in their free time. I am letting you

For example, Naura Salsabila Setiawan, or simply Caca, is a 14-year-old who was in grade 7 when her school transitioned to distance learning.

Back then, school only lasted five hours, giving her plenty of spare time teaching math to her classmates through WhatsApp group chats.

Now Caca uses her spare time to take at least three extra hours of extra lessons outside of school Monday through Thursday to improve her academic performance.

“In the extra lessons, I know what I need to do to get the results I want, so I do it. It’s not,” she explained.

Kaka also uses her spare time to mentor her struggling classmates. “If they understand[the lesson]after I teach, I’m happy because I can share my knowledge,” she said. I was able to teach math to my classmates using live group chats, so I didn’t have to clear my doubts individually.

For two semesters, she was a classmate’s math tutor. She taught them through videos recorded from her mobile phone.

Another energetic student, Zahra Putri Suryana, 12, uses her spare time to develop herself by participating in extracurricular activities and competitions, especially martial arts.

Zahra is a Pencak Silat athlete who has chosen to devote her spare time to her hobby of martial arts during the pandemic.

Monday through Friday, Grade 7 spends two hours each day doing physical education and an additional four to five hours of academic work.

Although in-person extracurricular activities are prohibited, the competition Zahra participated in was held online.

Despite being an athlete since third grade and qualifying for the state’s Sustainable Achievement Sports Coaching Program, Zahra still makes education a priority.

“Education is important to all of us. That’s why education comes first and hobbies come second,” she said.

Zahra also said her parents are constantly reminding her that her education must be her number one priority.

Meanwhile, 14-year-old water polo player Lara Angliani Giatinegara is a little different. She chose to go all out in training.

Every Monday through Saturday, 8th graders train for several hours.

“My hobby is always exercising, and I enjoy playing water polo. It’s a sport that doesn’t tire you out, so I come home in the middle of the night, so even if I’m tired from school, I don’t mind training hard.” and Lara.

Whenever Rara trains on weekdays, she wakes up at 5am and only closes her eyes for 5 hours before going to school.

Rara said her teachers were very supportive and sometimes put her to bed during class. “My teachers know I’m an athlete and my training schedule. Some teachers may complain, but it’s only once in a while,” she added.

However, she said she often feels guilty that her teachers have always been so supportive of her non-academic endeavours. I’m exhausted,” she added.

For almost two years now, Rara has taken extra lessons outside of school specifically for athletes to keep up with her studies.

When asked about her ideal teaching and learning activities she hopes to see in the near future, Zahra expressed her hopes of having more time to study and socialize with friends in school when the pandemic is over. expressed.

“I hope that once the pandemic is over, we can share our experiences and speak directly. I am also struggling to study at home,” she said.

Similarly, Caca also expressed hope that the current face-to-face learning activities would continue indefinitely. “I think it’s perfect. If I have a question, I can ask the teacher right away. No more waiting, no bad internet connection. Lessons are better without (online) interference.” , can also be explained more clearly,” she explained.

As for Lara, she said she only wants teachers who are more supportive.

Young people in Indonesia make different choices and use different methods to actively learn and grow.

This positive spirit is what is expected of young people as they strive to become self-reliant and build a more resilient Indonesia.

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