‘24 crore children in education system affected by school closure’

Authored by Sukrita Baruah
| New Delhi |

Published: June 6, 2020 4:58:41 am

“In the second phase we will also start an interactive chat platform for students,” she mentioned.

For India’s school education and learning system, laid low by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown, linking and communicating with parents and learners will be crucial going forward, said teachers and officials at a national meeting on the way ahead for schools.

The conference, “Future of Schools: Overcoming COVID and Beyond”, was prepared by Ashoka University. Anita Karwal, Secretary, Department of School Education plus Literacy stated in her keynote address that central education regulators have so far tried to address the particular mental well-being of students.

“There are 24 crore children in the school education system across the country who have been affected by the closing of schools. The first thing we thought of was their mental well-being. We have launched the Manodarpan website which has a lot of resources for psychological support. We are also working on a toll-free helpline for all students and creating national directory of counsellors. In the second phase we will also start an interactive chat platform for students,” she said.

Karwal also stated that the Centre will be working towards creating guidelines upon online learning for schools.

“There has been some outcry about the way in which this has been done. Some schools have just replicated their time-tables and we have students sitting for seven hours in front of the screen. There have been problems in which families have had only one device, and we have seen some unfortunate incidents as well,” she said. Educators in the conference emphasised on the need for the collaborative approach by schools within the road ahead.

Shiladitya Ghosh, director of N.H. Goel World School, Raipur, focused on the needs of under-resourced schools. “Very few children are connected over WhatsApp. This has seen teachers connecting to students in whatever way possible. However, institutions need to gather themselves to reach out to students,” he or she said.

“It will of course be done in a staggered way, and there will probably be some 25% students who will have to be in school with the classes televised to the rest. There will be protocols of different entry and exits,” said Shashi Bannerjee, Principal, Shiv Nadar College, Noida.

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