School students are facing a bleak future as a result of this crisis. The switch to online learning has already exposed the lie that we are all in this together. Those from rich families can access the best tutors and resources online. They don’t have to worry about sharing computers, or finding quiet areas to work.
The rest of us have to essentially teach ourselves the syllabus with only the limited help that our teachers can provide remotely. Those from the poorest families may not be able to afford laptops, stationary or even meals, all of which are essential to an education worth anything. This has led to a huge increase of stress and other mental health issues, as the pressures of the school system are increased tenfold.
This has been accompanied with the news that children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 are to go back to school at the beginning of June, with other classes potentially following later in the term. We must ask ourselves, what purpose does this serve? Johnson and his government say that it’s an attempt to ease the UK out of lockdown. Yet many scientists believe that doing so risks a ‘second peak’.
In reality, the government’s priority is to reopen the economy, in order to protect the profits of the rich. This means sacrificing students’ and workers’ lives to do so. By capitulating to the demands of the bosses, the government is risking tens of thousands of lives (and the youngest lives first at that!). Teaching unions have rightly come out against the June re-opening, noting that effective safety measures will be impossible to implement, placing a real threat onto pupils and staff. Many parents are already saying that they will not risk sending their kids to school this side of the summer holidays.
The response to this problem is clear: students, parents and staff must unite against the relaxation of lockdown in schools! Unite against this mass sacrifice in the name of profit! Fight for a better world, fight for Socialism!
Harry O’Neil, Manchester Marxists