EDUCATIONAL POINTS TO PONDER

Bombarding children, particularly year 12 students with perpetually modified study options at this time, will do nothing positive for their state of mental health and well being. Cancelling NAPLAN for 2020 was wise and considering a deferral of formal assessment for all senior years may be wise. For students to mark time and age a year in terms of formal schooling assessments would not be the end of the world.

Schools and teachers like never before will rely on parents to oversee the education of students on the home front. The attitudes of children as home learners will also be important. Online learning and correspondence links will only work if regular time and structured home learning environments are established and maintained.

Online meetings in place of face-to-face gatherings is not a new concept. Around 15-20 years ago this strategy supported many meetings and key ‘within Australia’ and overseas conferences. I suspect that discontinuation had a lot to do with concerns from airlines and hotel chains about loss of patronage. These were well managed and effective management and professional development alternatives.

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THE GENESIS OF COVID-19

At his press conference today (3/4/2020) Prime Minister Morrison was asked about China and wet markets and Australian Government thinking on the issue. His response was along the lines of stating that each country has to look after its own situations. That is what Australia is doing at the moment. He went on to state that the issue of wet markets and accountability for domestic practices with international impact was an issue that needed to engage China.

Some find such statements uncomfortable and call out the race card by suggesting such comments are racist in nature. Not true. When countries looking after their interests do so in a way that impacts not only on their security but the security of other countries, the issue becomes one involving other players. They have every right to weigh in with their stated positions.

I read that this outbreak could almost be regarded as biological warfare.

In China’s case, COVID-19 is not the first virus to have its starting point in it’s wet markets. However, this virus has had a far more reaching and world-wide impact than other viruses that were born in China.

In the months ahead, the issue of China’s role in the genesis of virus cultures has to be taken up. Chinese responsibility cannot be excused simply because China is a major trading partner.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) also needs to be called out for the part it played in denying the obvious for so long; that COVID-19 was on a deadly invisible march well and truely before WHO called it out as a pandemic.

COVID-19: A GIFT TO AUSTRALIAN FROM THE SELFISH AND UNCARING

One would hope that post the COVID-19 virus, those going overseas and on ship cruises might approach their travels with common sense and awareness of the need for personal care and consideration of others.

Those of us who remained back in Australia are being bombarded with the threat of coronavirus introduced to us by those who came gnome with infections from overseas. And these so called “citizens” keep on coming and coming; there seems no end to their errant stream.

These infected ones are largely those who went against advice and travelled overseas or took passage on cruise ships AFTER travel advices were offered then upgraded. I hope though their selfishness and non-caring behaviour, I hope they are given opportunity to reflect upon the fact that their conduct has been the most major contributing factor of bringing this country to its knees.

Mind you, the arrant stupidity of those who have insisted on threatening themselves and the rest of us by violating physical distancing rules, has not helped. Neither has the capricious behaviour of those who have deliberately violated self isolation rules. This disregard has been most obvious in NSW, Victoria and Queensland, the states leading the infection stakes.

Issuing fines is a waste of time for they will never ever be paid. What those who breach rules need, is a good dose of the Singapore rattan, a whipping or a touch up with the good old cane. Bet they won’t breach a second or third time. They will be more inclined to rethink about the rights of others rather than their own selfish desire for gratification.

COVID-19: A GIFT TO AUSTRALIAN FROM THE SELFISH AND UNCARING

One would hope that post the COVID-19 virus, those going overseas and on ship cruises might approach their travels with common sense and awareness of the need for personal care and consideration of others.

Those of us who remained back in Australia are being bombarded with the threat of coronavirus introduced to us by those who came gnome with infections from overseas. And these so called “citizens” keep on coming and coming; there seems no end to their errant stream.

These infected ones are largely those who went against advice and travelled overseas or took passage on cruise ships AFTER travel advices were offered then upgraded. I hope though their selfishness and non-caring behaviour, I hope they are given opportunity to reflect upon the fact that their conduct has been the most major contributing factor of bringing this country to its knees.

Mind you, the arrant stupidity of those who have insisted on threatening themselves and the rest of us by violating physical distancing rules, has not helped. Neither has the capricious behaviour of those who have deliberately violated self isolation rules. This disregard has been most obvious in NSW, Victoria and Queensland, the states leading the infection stakes.

Issuing fines is a waste of time for they will never ever be paid. What those who breach rules need, is a good dose of the Singapore rattan, a whipping or a touch up with the good old cane. Bet they won’t breach a second or third time. They will be more inclined to rethink about the rights of others rather than their own selfish desire for gratification.

POINTS TO PONDER

It would make sound sense for our NT schools to close to students (other than those of essential service workers) this Friday, after 9 weeks of an 11 week term. Attendance i I s desultory and the community confused by the present situation. For week 10 to be the final week of term, one during which teachers prepare materials for distance learning would be an eminently sensible approach. And term two should definitely start as one of distance/online learning rather than physical attendance in classrooms.

As it stands, schools will be open in week 10 and closed to students in week 11.

There needs to be a firming Australian position on schools being opened or closed and when and what services will be offered online. The variations from state and territory to state and territory is, at this point in time, very confusing.

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There is NO WAY KNOWN that Territorians who have had contact with the coronavirus through association with those on ships or in touring parties, should be allowed to fly home on commercial airline flights. At the very least their contagion should require medical evacuation to the NT. All those in the NT with COVIG-19 have arrived as regular passengers. That is totally wrong and should not be condoned by authorities.

There is a massive truancy problem in NT Schools, particularly in remote areas. Whether schools are open or closed is immaterial to these hundreds of non-attenders because their behaviours of educational avoidance will not be affected.

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COMMUNITY ATTITUDES DISTORT COVID-19 MANAGEMENT

PLAY THE BALL, NOT THE MAN

Throughout my time as an educator and writer (more recently a Linked In contributor and blogger) I have tried very hard to focus on issues and not directly on people who may be involved with process. It is the issue that is important rather than direct focus on people who may be involved.

In respect of the coronavirus and its impact upon Australia and Australians, I find it hard to remain within that frame of comment.

The issues surrounding COVID-19 are gripping Australia and indeed the world. To their credit, Australian Governments at every level are mounting realistic campaigns of response to this contagion. However, their intentions and efforts have been and are being thwarted by people of all ages who, from the onset of the virus, have chosen courses of action that pose a threat for themselves and for others. AND THEY DON’T CARE UNTIL THE PROVERBIAL HITS THE FAN: WHEN THAT HAPPENS THEY CRY OFF POOR AND WANT THE GOVERNMENT(S) TO BAIL THEM OUT OF THEIR SELF CREATED PREDICAMENTS.

The examples of stupidly, crass, uncaring selfishness and flagrant disregard for others (as well as themselves) are epitomised in any number of examples of selfish, stupid (and more recently illegal) behaviour.

I share just a few.

• The hundreds and indeed thousands of Australians who have taken passage on cruise ships and gone cruising after the virus broke out and people became aware of its infectious potential and spread.

• The hundreds and indeed thousands of Australians who have left by air on overseas holidays after the announcement of this deadly virus became known.

• The selfishness of travel companies, especially those connected with cruising, who appealed to people to sail into danger because of special travel deals being offered.

• The idiocy and crass stupidity of people who, with the virus closing in and states/territories limiting travel nevertheless elected to travel interstate on holiday and now find themselves well and truly flummoxed by imposed travel restrictions.

• The arrant disregard for the welfare of others by people who have taken commercial plane flights to their home state and territories while knowing or suspecting they were infected with the virus

• The vile misconduct of people who have deliberated violated the terms of isolation after having been placed into self-quarantine because of their association with the virus.

• The wickedness of those who are required to self isolate, but who have given false addresses about their physical location to authorities.

• The crass stupidity of people who were happy to go to bridge parties, clubs, pubs, the beach and other places once social distancing provisions had come into place.

• The short sightedness of officials who allowed the unchecked disembarkation of ‘Ruby Princess’ passengers. This after being told by staff on the ship that there were no issues. (Post the virus, this story and similar releases suggesting that passengers on ships are fine when they are not, should be fully investigated with legal consequences for any non disclosure being an option).

• The greed and selfishness manifest by a minority of people (but a minority of many hundreds) who stripped and continue to strip shelves bare of essential products.

• The wrongfulness of those who left cities in vehicles to strip stores in nearby towns of essentials needed by locals.

This is not a list exhausted of examples illustrating wrong doing. It demonstrates how much harder it is for authorities to manage major health and economic issues when confronted with issues of this nature.

When “I” comes before and replaces “we” to the extent that has occurred, a picture of selfishness and self-centredness emerges; one that distorts the efforts and intentions of authorities and one that shows how little too many care about our Australian community as a whole.

POINTS TO PONDER

POINTS TO PONDER

Educationally, I think 2020 will become a ‘marking of time’ year at primary, secondary and tertiary level. Whatever can be cobbled together to support a maintenance of some study attitude will be useful, but that will be about as far as it goes. For students to be a year older and more mature in the ways of life when returning to reopened schools and universities in 2021 may not be a bad thing. 2020 looks like being a global gap year.

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If schools are closed provision will have to be made for the children of doctors, nurses, medical support staff and child care workers. and so on. Without this support there will be a major drop off in medical and related professional staff able to go to work. This surely means some schools will have to be partially opened to provide for this care.

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The COVID-19 virus is a threat to schools and schooling. It is the most major threat to education since the introduction of NAPLAN testing in 2008. This virus adds to the annual mental threat and worry NAPLAN poses to students, teachers and school leaders. The need for resilience is being sorely tested.

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It is beginning to appear that the Australia-wide NAPLAN testing program due in May, could well be disrupted by the impacts of COVIG-19 on education. This might be a good time to consider the discontinuation of a phyrric and increasingly irrelevant testing program. NAPLAN has become an ingrained annual habit that defocuses schools, staff and students from relevant, meaningful teaching and learning