The Union Ministry for Health and Welfare had earlier stated that schools outside containment zones may reopen from September 21 for students of classes IX to XII, adding that they may attend voluntarily if they want guidance from their teachers.
As per directions issued by the Delhi government’s Directorate of Education, schools in the state will continue to remain closed for all classes till October 5, 2020. Educators, though, wonder about the closure affecting the academic and mental well-being of children.
Madhulika Sen, former principal, Tagore International School, and now an education advisor, said, “We could take cues from other states that have allowed reopening. But given Delhi’s Covid situation, I don’t think classes can resume in October. While students in classes X and XII will have completed their syllabus by November, starting the junior classes then looks difficult. But we could begin with classes VI-VIII, IX and XI, that too in different time slots.”
SK Bhattacharya, chairman of the Action Committee, an association of private unaided schools in Delhi, said, “We are in the third half of the academic session. How long can schools remain closed? We should use the time to redesign the classroom for reopening, plan teacher-student ratio, decide whether to run school buses.”
Read: Delhi: Reopening dilemma
Bhattacharya added, “If the government sticks to its order on reopening schools after October 5, it will be welcomed by private schools. Online classes have their limitations. Students of the 2020-21 batch are suffering not only academically, but also psychologically with doubts about their future and career.”
Suruchi Gandhi, principal, Bal Bharti School, Dwarka, said, “We don’t know when the vaccine will be ready. Studies are going on through online classes, but the kids are not getting a chance to learn life skills. Primary children are missing out on personal interaction, and that worries me a lot.”
The education boards would have to rethink the syllabus, said Shailendra Sharma, advisor to the director of education, Delhi – “We hope this year will be treated as a special year for assessment purposes. CBSE reduced the syllabus in the expectation that schools would reopen by July,” he said. “Online classes for XI and XII have nearly 90% attendance. Up to Class X, we have 80% of the students closely engaged.”
However, when the Directorate of Education asked schools to seek the parents’ opinion on the central government’s circular calling senior students back to classes, they found parents are not eager about the reopening of schools.
At Bal Bharti School, Dwarka, 65 percent of parents responded in the negative to sending their children back to school while at Mount Abu Public School, Rohini, about 75 percent of the parents of classes IX-XII students were against reopening.
Unlike their parents, students want to return to school, say teachers who have interacted with their students. “They say online learning is not much fun and they want to meet friends. The Class XII students, especially, want to enjoy their last year in school,” claimed an English teacher of a south Delhi school.
Source: Times of IndiaNews, States