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increasingly harsh restrictions

While the government has recently made announcements regarding school and children in Australia, parents are concerned about the little visibility they have as to what will happen next. Australia has thus been living isolated for months from the rest of the world by having chosen a “zero covid” policy. Indeed, drastic closure of international borders and strict confinement as soon as a Covid case appears in a city punctuate the daily life of these French-speaking expatriates in Australia. Children also experience these upheavals. After a year of restrictions and confinements, the situation is becoming increasingly difficult for parents and children. We spoke with several French families settled in Australia in order to better understand the impacts on schools and children in Australia of the Covid-19 crisis.

An overwhelmed faculty

Whether in a public or private school, teachers found themselves in an unprecedented situation that forced them to adapt.

For Samantha, whose daughter was educated in a French school during the 1st confinement, the school did not support her mistresses. ” We had to teach our mistress how to use Zoom, explain to her that her screen was inverted or even to use other technologies “. She regrets this lack of support and training from the school. This year, her daughter is going to a local school, but things haven’t changed.

I’m disappointed to have an older mistress who struggles with computers. We had a younger replacement for a week and it was night and day! I love his mistress, but face-to-face at school, not distance learning “.

For Hélène, whose 2 boys went to an Australian public school during the first confinement, the same observation.

The implementation of homeschooling was disastrous! The school sent us a kind of powerpoint at 8:30 am with links on 4 different platforms. All without video of the teachers or of the course itself. So I had to do both classes at the same time. We ended up exhausted “.

She chose to change her school children for a private school and this time, the difference is clear ” The school has a system in place! There is only one platform, the children have at least 2 meetings per day. It’s simple and well constructed and they also have a small group meeting twice a week, for reading and math “. In addition, the school provides a Chromebook to work from home.

Containment weighs on the youngest

Beyond the difficulties concerning the implementation of distance courses, the repeated confinements weigh on the morale of the youngest.

For Aurélie, whose children have been home for 8 weeks, the lack of interaction is starting to be long. She also feels that the classes are more intense and the organization is not always easy. However, she recognizes We are lucky, we are not in town so we have green space around to go for a walk and breathe. We’re not too far from the beaches either for an occasional ride. » . A finding shared by many respondents.

In Melbourne, the confinement is very heavy. ” No social contact, one hour out weekly, curfew, mask when leaving the house for children. »

For Arthur, 10, repeated confinements are difficult “ He is struggling to recover from last year’s long lockdown and was extremely distressed if he saw people. “His mother hopes that he will live better the exit of this new confinement, he who is now supported by a psychologist.

For Samantha and her daughter, too, this new confinement is difficult.

We avoid going to the playground because some parents do not respect the rules and it is difficult for my daughter to understand why her friends can play together, but not her. My daughter is having a harder time with this lockdown because she misses her friends and extra-curricular activities. The virus does not seem to stress her too much, but she is afraid for her grandmother. »

And the students in all this?

Thus, for the youngest, the situation is increasingly difficult. But the same is true for students. Oscar came to Australia in 2018 to study:

“I find myself quite frustrated with the quality of education since we have been confined. Of course, it’s understandable, teachers have to take the time to organize themselves. They must also adapt and learn to give us online lessons. But university officials are not making much of an effort. The price has not decreased while as an international student, you already pay a lot more than the locals. The cost is really high for us. »

Oscar, student at Monash University in Melbourne

Australia, which has chosen to pursue a “zero covid” policy, is thus forcing its population to isolate themselves from the rest of the world. For French-speaking expats in Australia, school and children are real concerns. While the country is experiencing a new wave of cases, in particular due to the Delta variant, parents and children are living less and less well with the restrictions imposed.

  • Elodie Quincieux fell in love with Australia. So much so that she founded an agency and a blog dedicated to French-speaking travelers who want to discover the mainland island. Naturally, she is our local correspondent.

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