Today marks two months and ten days since I completed high school; I am one of the lucky ones as they say. I recently received my final high school results and instead of thinking about the next step from here, my mind is going through how despite the difficulties, I may have been lucky after all, seeing the current state of education in this country.
Back in March 2020, the 18th day, when the prime minister first declared the country to be in a state of emergency due to the covid-19 pandemic and demanded that schools be closed immediately, the only possible outcome which my peers and I had thought of was death. We carried our heavy learning materials home scared even by the idea of a mere goodbye hug as we took pictures we thought may have been our last. We had paid no attention to the possibility of a new reality that was speeding towards us.
It was later on when we were locked in our houses, stuck on our electronic gadgets to keep our learning process going, ALIVE, that it dawned to most of us that it is not catching the virus and dying that should have scared us but rather how we were going to adapt to the unusual way of survival for the sake of our own future.
Online learning was challenging and for a while there, I might have thrown in the towel and such a narrative was not only mine. Having to change from a classroom whose only disruptions were some little raucous my classmates created to trying to listen to recordings of my teachers which made me more sleepy than anything between my parents’ loud conversing was all just not working. I was tired before one online lesson could reach its half because of the late night hours I spent trying to go through one document of notes and struggling to edit an assignment. My courage was not promising at all, especially when I was not even certain if I would sit for examinations.
Now, it is over for me, even if it is just for a while. I did sit for my exams and I get to shed some tears because I did very well not because I am the middle of a class where I can barely keep up as I try to complete an assignment that is due in less than an hour so I feel on the verge of quitting. Maybe I am one of the lucky ones after all.
I have spent more time with my parents who are teachers in the past year than I have ever before but how long is it supposed to go on? What happens to the children they are supposed to be working with, who have not even the resources to learn online?
Now that my own woes have gone to rest, I keep thinking of what will happen to my sisters and brothers who may have not been as fortunate as I am. For me, it was a matter of no prom but for them, it means no exams. So we wait, for a sign of hope that will get the education of this country going on but even then, how we are to keep up remains a mystery.
16 year old Mpho Mathaba from Mokhotlong, Lesotho graduated high school and completed her IGCSE Exams with five A pluses and three A’s from Soofia International School. All this, against terrifying odds.