SAILING THROUGH THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
Dr Consolata Chua, Coordinator, Gender Unit, Dar es Saleem University College of Education (DUCE), Tanzania.
Tanzania like many other countries in the World is going through change of life and work style caused by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In normal times, end of March or beginning of April would normally be the beginning of the second semester following closure of the College for three weeks after first semester examinations. Thus April would be teaching session for the second semester, which involve face to face lectures, seminars and assignments given to students in groups and/or individually. April 2020 would have also been the month for the Second International Conference for Gender in Higher Education, which was scheduled for 23rd-24th April at DUCE. Being the lead in the organising committee, I would have been busy with ensuring the conference is carried out successfully as planned. This would entail being fully available at the College to not only facilitate teaching and learning process but also to ensure the conference is a success.
Given the current situation on the spread of COVID-19, all institutions of learning have been closed until when the situation returns to normal. The Government has also prohibited all activities and events that require gathering of people to contain the spread of the virus. This has affected
the Almanac as we are not sure when the second semester will begin. Since most of our undergraduate teaching is on face-to-face basis and not online all activities with regards to teaching have been put on halt except for supervision of postgraduate work which continues online.
In absence of undergraduate teaching sessions my work schedule has been restricted to administrative roles as the head of the Gender Unit and supervision of postgraduate work. This schedule provide time for isolation by using some of the days to work from home and visit the office at least twice a week to handle some administrative issues that need my attention. Working from home has its own challenges including restricted access to some official documents, the unreliable power and internet facilities and the fact that as a woman, wife and a mother you find yourself engaged to some social /family responsibilities around the home simply because you are around and expected to do them. This has led to finding coping mechanisms for these times and I see they are working in a way. It is my prayer that this situation ends sooner than later, and we return to normal (which I feel will not be the same as in the past), and continue with various social and economic activities.
Dr Consolata Chua