Rami, a young boy is learning online through Whatsapp.

Rami*, 14-year-old, fled from Syria to Lebanon with his family eight years ago. They first lived in Beirut and then settled in Jbeil. He is a grade three student who attends JRS learning support programme at Nicolas Kluiters Centre (NKC) in the morning and a local public school in Jbeil in the afternoon. Designed to provide both language and homework support to students attending public schools, the learning support programme offers additional educational activities to help students thrive in school.

This academic year was like no other for Rami, it took some time for him to get used to the online learning. Rami did not take the online learning seriously at the beginning and thought it was a waste of time. Yet, his attitude transformed over time. He says,” things changed with the persistence of the tutors and the administration staff, as well as the encouragement of my mother. I realized that the commitment to the online classes is very important for my future.”

Even with motivation, online learning requires adjustments. It is not easy for students to stick to a schedule by sitting on the couch and using a mobile phone instead of attending the physical classroom with their friends. Surprisingly, Rami adapted to this new model very systematically. He follows a routine and checks his agenda on a daily basis to keep on top of assignments. It is all about taking it one day at a time. “The lessons are explained very well through WhatsApp videos and, if there is something unclear, I can ask about it,” notes Rami. If needed, he can play the videos shared by his tutors as many times as needed to fully comprehend. He solves his homework and submits them with answers the next day. Sometimes he feels shy to ask questions in the WhatsApp group, which is totally understandable for students trying online classes for the first time.

Using a mobile phone for online learning has its drawbacks, and for this reason, the students and their parents received awareness sessions to maximize their use of this tool. Rami was very grateful for these tips so that he could use his smartphone in a healthy way that neither drains his energy nor wastes his time. Technology plays a vital role for Rami given his health conditions. He suffers from hemiplegia (partial paralysis) in his left leg and eye and uses his phone for drawing and playing games given that he cannot easily participate in physical sports.

Rami hopes to become a social worker in the future so he can help and advise people. He wants to pursue his studies in Lebanon and then move abroad where he can find security and stability. He wishes that the situation in Syria will become more safe and secure.

 

Rami* is a fictitious name used to maintain confidentiality.