What are the changes set to take place in the schooling pattern across India?

Prajakta Joshi
Sunday, 3 May 2020

Given the size of Maharashtra, we need a comprehensive action plan if we are thinking about opening schools two months from now- Mansoor Ali, research analyst

Pune: The post-coronavirus lockdown world is set to carry with it several challenges and adjustments as to how we functioned earlier. Schools will be one of the key areas to be impacted. Schools that were shut untimely before the completion of the last academic year are also estimated to open later than usual.

"It will not be the same. There will be a lot more focus on hygiene, and we will have to find innovative solutions for maintaining social distancing," said Rajendra Singh of Independent English School Association (IESA).

Alternate schooling days

"We are anticipating alternate-day schooling for students, in different batches per class. For instance, if 20 out of the 40 students in a class attend the school today, they will stay home the next day, when the second batch of 20 students will come to school. Those at home will have access to the same classes live on digital platforms," Singh stated.

He added, "We will have to monitor the students everywhere to see that social distancing is being maintained, group activities like sports will take a backseat for a while. Masks will be mandatory. Parents and students should also consider the face shields, which are much more comfortable for children than the masks."

Focus on online classes

"The principles of open learning and homeschooling will begin to be incorporated at a much larger scale in the formal education system. Use of advanced educational technology and distance learning will increase," said education expert Vasant Kalpande.

On similar lines, Singh also said that online learning would continue to be a major part of schooling as curtailing the syllabus of the students for one year is not a good option.

"Education is not about completion of syllabus, but it is about learning outcomes. A lot of basic concepts that the students learn in lower classes serve as a foundation for their higher classes. We will try to start schools online in the first week of June as usual," he added.

Need for better infrastructure

As per research analyst Mansoor Ali, who is also an industry expert on indoor ventilation, air quality and planning, a comprehensive action plan is required for the safety of schools. He said, "It takes a minimum of 45 days to prepare and implement safety measures and guidelines for large scale infrastructure. Given the size of Maharashtra, we need to have this action plan right now, even if we think about opening schools two months from now."

In a letter to the Maharashtra education department, Ali has shared how the education model could be a breeding ground for coronavirus unless the schools well sanitised, well-ventilated and breathable.

However, Kalpande said this process is going to change the way we look at schools. "Earlier, there was a fad amongst parents, that the bigger the school, the better it is. I think this will change, and parents will start preferring smaller schools with lesser students," the educational expert said.

Changed learning approach

"Whatever has been happening around the world now is unexpected. But this uncertainty is going to be part of our lives from now on," Kalpande said. He added, "Considering that, we will need to prepare children for future problem solving, creativity, decision-making must be part of the curriculum."

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