Bopha Isn’t Giving Her Studies a Break During COVID-19
Things have changed drastically for Bopha*. Only months ago, she woke up early each day to change into her school uniform, now she can easily study in her pajamas. Even so, her study regimen is far from leisurely. While ISF’s Chbar Ampov campus is closed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Bopha’s commitment to learning is resolute.
From the comfort of her home, she is delving into a variety of subjects. Through the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS) YouTube channel, Bopha’s studies Khmer, Math, Physics, and Chemistry, just to name a few. She also attends an extra class for Math on Telegram provided by ISF. We’ve hired an additional high school teacher to ensure high school students can practice Math despite school closures. Bopha also expands her English skills with video lectures from devoted English teachers posted to the ISF English Programme Facebook Group.
Since internet access is cost prohibitive for most students, ISF provides needy students like Bopha with four dollars a month for mobile internet service. This subsidy is vital in making sure that she can attend her online classes regularly. Now that she has steady internet access, Bopha attends our classes along with searching for other lessons relevant to subjects she’s enrolled in.
Bopha’s drive to learn is fueled by a wish to never again fall behind on her studies. At grade 1, she had to drop out of school due to financial issues. Following an extended lapse in formal education, her mother was recommended to enroll her in ISF by one of our social workers. After going through our screening processes, she was selected as a grade 1 student in our Catch-Up Programme. Bopha, now 15 years old, studies in grade 9 with ISF support.
Reflecting on the efficacy of online lessons, Bopha says, “It is effective but also challenging because I don’t have constant contact with my teachers. I need to wait until I meet them at ISF. I don’t think I could reach teachers in video lessons on the Ministry of Education’s channel though.”
While Bopha found online learning unfamiliar at first, adapting to it has given her new expertise. She is becoming more knowledgeable about communication technology through online video conferencing apps like Zoom. Distance learning can be frustrating and time-consuming for young students like her, but ISF social workers are always on hand to encourage them. Bopha thanks ISF for helping her to keep studying during the COVID-19 crisis, though she wishes that schools would reopen soon.