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Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Education News

COVID-19 IMPACT ON SCHOOLS

Brainfeed National Survey on Lockdown

Coronavirus is a fear that world has got a little used to hear. However, everyone is still in disbelief and scare. Several doubts are looming over the landscape of education – especially School Education. How can children stay safe and manage social distancing? How can teachers bear the burden of covering entire syllabus amid lot of absent children? Will school management come up with innovative ways of teaching to minimize the impact?

There are many more questions that seek answer. Here’s an attempt by Brainfeed to talk to the school leaders and understand the school preparedness in a better way.

The survey covers all the regions of the country. Here is the fourth instalment covering Delhi NCR Region.

Engage and empower students – Dr Arunabh Singh, Director, Nehru World School, Ghaziabad

Dr Arunabh Singh, Director, Nehru World School, Ghaziabad
Dr Arunabh Singh, Director, Nehru World School, Ghaziabad

The well-being of the students during these times is the biggest challenge. In the wake of the coronavirus scare, all are affected but the students who have been confined to their houses for a month are vulnerable. The need of the hour is to keep their spirits high and allow them to speak and vent their feelings. How to keep students engaged? How to empower them? These are the questions that our teachers have been asking and designing work.

Motivating teachers and upskilling them is one of the challenges. We have been fortunate to have a good staff who took to online classes with ease. It is also heartening to note that the online classes registered 95% attendance.

From the management stand point, fee collection is a challenge and schools need to dig into their savings.

Given the present scenario, the prospect of reopening of schools in the next few months seems a distant possibility.

Teachers taking to online mode, biggest positive – Jay Kumar Singh, Principal, Kaushalya World School, Greater Noida

Jay Kumar  Singh, Principal, Kaushalya World School , Greater Noida
Jay Kumar Singh, Principal, Kaushalya World School, Greater Noida

The teachers have gained immensely during the lockdown. To put it simply, it is a blessing in disguise. If one were to look at the positives during these testing times, it has to be the emergence of the teaching community in harnessing technology to the optimum.

To everyone’s surprise, a welcoming one at that, teachers even the most reluctant ones, jumped lock, stock and barrel into online teaching. In the past we would struggle coaxing teachers to start going online but we could not do for so long, coronavirus has done.

Teachers now know how to split PDF in different parts, use google doc, access and prepare google forms, use google drive and make videos.

The next level

The next challenge for the teaching community is not just to dish out assignments but make sure that they are meaningful and encompass all the skills. Merely sending videos will not help, it has to be a combination of video, audio, text and interaction.

The engagement with students should be comprehensive and touch the emotional quotient and creativity as well.

No one talks about pending fee – Bharat Arora, General Secretary, Action Committee Unaided Private Schools

Bharat Arora, General Secretary, Action Committee Unaided Private Schools

It is beyond doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has hit us hard and the collection of fee has evoked a lot of debate across the nation. There is one point that everyone missed.

The government instructed schools to collect monthly fee for the new academic session but there has been no instruction on the pending fee. There are hundreds of schools that are reeling in financial crisis and the pendency fee for the month of March is running into crores.

In some schools the pending fee is 10% in others it is 20%. It may be noted that the worst hit are budget schools. There is a trend with budget schools, parents usually wait till the end to pay and this time by the time the payment data came, the coronavirus hit the nation.

What is heartening is the fact that all schools irrespective of their stature have risen and are doing yeomen service, the teachers are disseminating knowledge by going online. The teaching and learning process has not been affected and that is laudable.

Schools, like all other establishments run on the fee collected. The pending fee, if deposited would be great for schools to keep the machinery running. The Government needs to instruct parents to pay the pending fee. There is a section of parents who on their own come forward and pay the fee. The teaching community salutes them.

The need of the hour is online orientation  – Alka Awasthi, Principal, Mayoor School, Noida

Alka Awasthi, Principal, Mayoor School, Noida
Alka Awasthi, Principal, Mayoor School, Noida

It is slowly but surely dawning on all the limitations of online classes. Firstly, people have realised that children should not be bombarded with online lessons at one go.

Initially, all jumped onto the online stream but now issues such as connectivity, sharing of mobile and laptops, time management and coming online are hard realities.

The need of the hour is online orientation to not just students but to all concerned including teachers and parents.  The coronavirus pandemic struck so suddenly that schools had no other choice but to go online with the available platforms.

All stake holders now understand the pros and cons of online teaching. A majority have come to understand the limitations of online teaching.

All along we have been talking about the problems with lecture method but with the online teaching, the lecture method is again becoming a matter of concern. Bereft of interaction, the classes are turning one-sided.

There have been several complaints that the class gets reduced to cacophony when two or more students speak at a time. Then there is an issue of teachers’ preparedness. Many teachers, all of a sudden were told to prepare videos and take classes.

Online orientation programmes are the way forward. With uncertainty prevailing, it is a hard guess when schools would reopen but till then one would depend on online classes and orientation is a must.

Positioning of online classes crucial – Dimple Puri, Head of School, DLF World School, Greater Noida

Dimple Puri, Head of School, DLF World School, Greater Noida
Dimple Puri, Head of School, DLF World School, Greater Noida

Auditioning of online journey is over. Now we are in the second phase- teacher readiness. The present challenge is continuous push and encouragement to teachers to continue online classes and motivation by school leaders.

The role of the school leader is vital during the lockdown. Handholding and monitoring are crucial, lest the teaching and learning suffers.

Coming out with a template is important. Schools have latched on to different platforms and now are in the process of tweaking and zeroing down to a platform that they are comfortable with.

We have created a weekly template that is clear and concrete which is shared with the parent. Clarity of thought and fool-proof implementation of online classes is essential.

Creation of a blueprint with a proper time-table, where and when to submit assignments, date of submission of assignment, evidence of scholastic activities and all other details should be mentioned. A proper monitoring system should be in place.

A classroom observation rubric at this moment is important. We need to give a lot of thought on this aspect. Positioning of online classes, weekly checklist for teachers, creating flexibility in online assessment are issues that are high on the agenda.

The time has come to redefine our role. Engaging classroom, creating interesting and compelling content and variety is needed.

Lockdown will make students empathetic to environment – Dr Onika Mehrotra, Director, Kalka Group of Institutions, New Delhi

Dr Onika Mehrotra, Director, Kalka Group of Institutions, New Delhi
Dr Onika Mehrotra, Director, Kalka Group of Institutions, New Delhi

The biggest advantage of the lockdown or silver lining would be the positive effect in terms of understanding the need to respect and protect environment. Students would become empathetic to the environment and understand issues such as global warming.

The lockdown has made everyone sit up and take notice, more so the students. Teaching will change in more ways than one. The disaster management mock drills that we used to conduct in schools will get a fillip and students would take part with more enthusiasm.

An issue that needs to be addressed is the mental state of students once the dust settles down. The students have been experiencing a lockdown for the first time that is going to leave a lot of scars. They are missing the peer group activities, the school environment and the conventional learning. The days spent inside closed doors is bound to have an impact and educators need to tackle this with empathy.

Given the present circumstances, online teaching is the only option, though it can never replace face-to-face teaching, schools need to manage. We are sending worksheets, videos and other material.

Covid-19 has hit budget schools hardest  – Premchand Palety, Chief Executive, C-fore

Premchand Palety, Chief Executive, C-fore
Premchand Palety, Chief Executive, C-fore

The schools that have been engaging students on and off through online classes have managed to tackle the unprecedented scare that coronavirus has wrought but the budget schools-caught unawares have been hit the hardest.

The students of budget schools do not have laptops and smart phones and even the students of other schools are finding it difficult to access them as parents too have been working from home.

The teachers too have been caught off-guard. I do not see the schools reopening soon. Until a vaccine is invented no one is safe. Schools beings places with mass congregations, it is unlikely that they would open in the near future.

There is a possibility that senior classes could be run after a lot of precautions including one student in a bench with good distance between rows. It is just a thought.

School leaders would have to come together and find solutions. These are testing times and one needs to come up with solutions.

Teachers have added a new dimension to their personality – Manju Gupta, Principal, Kothari International School, Noida

Manju Gupta, Principal, Kothari International School, Noida
Manju Gupta, Principal, Kothari International School, Noida

We see this as an opportunity and view it as ‘glass is half full’. All stake holders have joined in a collaborative effort and started online classes. A routine has been developed. The teachers are playing an important role and in the process have become ideators, creators of videos, the producer and the director.

The outcome of the lockdown is teachers have redefined themselves and added a new dimension to their personality.

The delivery of content has undergone a change from being flat to creative and innovative. In some cases, students too pitched in which resulted in multi-level delivery.

Another positive has been the emergence of self-learning mode. Students have started thinking on their own. With parents too becoming a part of the online teaching by their presence, teachers too are vigilant and the end result is encouraging.

All have become vigilant, thinking before time, getting ready with a plan with lateral thinking.

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