With more than six months of the academic year washed out, the move to further extend the closure of the school has jeopardised the academic year of the students and has also left teachers worried about their senior students.
With the Delhi government extending the closure of all schools in the national capital till October 31, concerns have risen over the studies of students in higher classes. The decision taken by the Delhi government on Sunday came despite the central government’s Unlock 4 guidelines allowing states to re-open schools in a phased manner from October 15. With more than six months of the academic year washed out, the move to further extend the closure of the school has jeopardised the academic year of the students and has also left teachers worried about their senior students.
Rashmi Biswal, who is the Principal of DAV Public School Pushpanjali Enclave in the city told the Indian Express that despite online classes being on track and syllabus on track, her school was facing difficulty in conducting practicals. She also said that after the release of Unlock 5 guidelines, her school had planned to call students in small batches for conducting lab practicals but the complete closure of schools till October 31 has put a stop to it.
In addition to the practicals, Biswal also highlighted the hassles in conducting the mid term exams online. Stating that the online run of both subjective as well as objective questions to assess the students’ learning did not go well for the school, she said there were lots of unfair practices from the students’ end.
Wanting to remain anonymous, a Principal of a Delhi government-run school in Outer Delhi told the Indian Express that despite being substantial progress on covering syllabus online, the school was facing difficulties in assessing the students’ learning. The Principal cited an instance where even a small test of 10 marks could not be successfully conducted due to unfair practices by students.
With the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) asking schools to submit the list of candidates who would sit for the 2021 board examinations, the concerns over the issue of completing the syllabus for all students has also gripped many teachers. A Class 12th History teacher at a government-run girls convent school in Delhi said that her promise of covering the lost ground to students did not seem realistic to her anymore. She further said that not more than 11-12 students join for online classes out of a class of 60 students. In an attempt to help those who cannot attend the classes, the teacher is also sending self written notes along with explanatory recordings.
Similar concerns were expressed by students who are either unable to attend the classes or unable to understand what is being taught in online classes. A class 12th Art stream student from a government run school in Delhi’s Khajuri area told the Indian Express that she is unable to fathom anything during online classes even as the complete syllabus of her favourite subject Political Science has been completed.
Even as various state governments brace for re-opening schools from October 15, the central government has released the guidelines which are to be followed by the states. Apart from a flexible attendance system for those students who don’t want to attend in-person classes, students will also need to submit the consent of their parents before attending the classes.
Experience in the United States, which was one of the first countries to re-open schools, remains mixed. With several states and districts still keeping schools closed and different schools following varied guidelines, no conclusive country-wide finding on the impact of schools opening on the rate of infection could be established. However, US schools in some containment zones which started reporting a high number of cases had to be closed again.