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Thursday, October 22, 2020

Schools shut till end of this month, Delhi’s teachers worry: Are students in senior classes really on track?

The Delhi government had decided that schools would remain closed for all students till October 5, and on Sunday extended it till October 31.

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi | Updated: October 8, 2020 11:07:59 am
Schools shut till end of this month, Delhi’s teachers worry: Are students in senior classes really on track?There are concerns about assessment of senior students

From concerns about practicals and assessment to persisting concerns regarding teaching-learning — a fresh extension of the complete closure of Delhi schools for all students is making educators worried for their senior students.

According to the Union government’s Unlock 4 guidelines, schools could open after September 21 for senior students who could attend school on a voluntary basis to seek guidance from teacher over and above online classes. According to Unlock 5 guidelines, states can allow schools to reopen in a phased manner from October 15. The Delhi government had decided that schools would remain closed for all students till October 5, and on Sunday extended it till October 31. Several teachers The Indian Express spoke to were in favour of calling senior students to school in small groups.

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Principal of DAV Public School Pushpanjali Enclave, Rashmi Biswal, said: “Online classes are on track and the syllabus for the classes is being completed well before time. However, we are being unable to conduct practicals for our students. After the Unlock 4 guidelines we had created a planto call students in small batches of 15 in different labs with precautions and were counselling parents to build confidence. Now the complete closure of schools is repeatedly getting getting extended which makes planning difficult,” she said.

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Another concern she flagged was in assessing the senior students’ learning. “We tried to conduct mid-term exams in the school with both objective and subjective components on Microsoft Teams but it didn’t go well. There were a lot of unfair practices to the extent that I decided that I can’t give any report cards and arranged for smaller parent teacher meetings to discuss progress instead,” she said.

Assessment was also a concern raised by the principal of a government boys’ school in Outer Delhi who is also a science teacher. “Our online classes for class X and XII students are going smoothly with 90% attendance. I had a meeting with my class X science teachers today and they said they’ve completed 60% of the syllabus. But I do not think that I am able to get an honest assessment of how much progress they’re making. I’ve tried small 10-mark tests by sending them questions on Whatsapp and asked them to send answers in 15 minute tests but even then there were unfair practices,” he said.

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Concerns of teachers of senior students is that the prospect of CBSE board examinations in 2021 became concrete with the Board asking schools to submit lists of candidates.

A class XII history teacher of a girls’ government school said she is now feeling that her earlier reassurances to her students of making up lost ground are becoming unrealistic. “I’ve tried conducting online classes both in the morning and night but there are never more than 11 or 12 students in a class of 60. After the classes, I write questions and notes by hand and send them on the Whatsapp groups along with explanatory voice notes. In the last three weeks, I’ve been calling them in batches of 5-6 to school to collect photocopies of notes and study material. Despite all this I feel like they’re not making progress,” said the teacher.

A class XII student of a government school in Northeast Delhi’s Khajuri said she is tense because of her inability to grasp what is being taught. “My favourite subject is Political Science. The entire syllabus has already been completed but I haven’t understood anything. Our teacher sends us videos of the classes and tells us to ask questions if we have any problems but I don’t know even know what questions to ask since,” she said.

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