Munidas Shom, a contract labourer in east Delhi’s Gandhi Nagar, walked into his daughter’s school for the first time to attend the mega Parent Teacher Meeting (PTM) Saturday morning. As he entered the Government Senior Girls Secondary School, he was pleasantly surprised by the welcome he received from students, who greeted him and offered him a cup of hot tea and biscuits.
His daughter, Kaushalya, walked beside him in excitement as she could not wait to show her father a drawing of hers that was on display in the classroom. “This is the first time I am coming to visit my daughter’s school to meet her teachers. I usually never get to know when these meetings happen. This time, there was a lot of talk in the papers and I felt it would be good for me to know how my daughter is doing in school. Her mother and I are always caught up with work till at least 3 in the afternoon, so we do not get chances like this often.”
Munidas was not the only parent who made his first trip to his daughter’s school. Parents of as many as 16 lakh students attended the first ever mega Parent-Teacher Meeting (PTM) held in 1,000 government schools across the capital Saturday.
“This is the first time we have sent out formal invites to all parents. We hope the turnout is good,” said a teacher.
The principal, Popinder Kaur, was seated at the gate to welcome parents and note down their names. “We usually have PTMs at the end of every month and request students to pass on the information to their parents. Unfortunately, many parents work long shifts and are unable to attend,” said Kaur.
Surinder Lohra, an MCD karamchari whose daughter studies in Class V at SKV primary school in Shahdara, said he came for the meeting as he hoped to get a sense of what his daughter does at school. “One of our children had to quit school to take care of the younger children when were not paid our salaries. We do not know how the meeting will be, but I hope to learn that my daughter is studying well and is happy,” he said.
The Indian Express had earlier reported that the government’s new education policy was going to address the issue of mass failures in Class IX through child mapping, special classes and grouping them in specific segments. While most teachers were positive about the interactions, some said the new policy could be a serious burden on teachers.
A teacher at a primary school in Shahdara said, “We are happy that this visit gave us the opportunity to meet parents of students we have never met before. It is important for us to understand where the child comes from and how to help them. However, segmenting students is not something that all of us agree with.”
Education Minister Manish Sisodia — who spearheaded the project — visited several schools and said he was pleased to see the response to the initiative. He added that the PTM was likely to become a bi-annual feature. After his visits, he wrote letters to all teachers, students and parents and thanked them for their participation.
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