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‘Getting Children to follow COVID-19 Protocol is a Huge Challenge’

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

Q. How have your duties and responsibilities changed after the reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Teacher: First the schools reopened at full capacity and then we were instructed to reduce the classroom capacity to half because of the Omicron variant. During all of this we were also working at vaccination centres.

Our responsibilities have increased as getting children to follow COVID-19 protocol is a huge challenge. The learning levels of children have also dropped which means a lot of time is devoted to covering the basics.

Q. Has there been a change in student enrollment as well as attendance?

Teacher: Enrollment has increased in government schools and students can be enrolled in classes according to their age, as per state/government instructions.

Children are excited to come to school and attendance has been good. Children were not so interested in online classes and some children didn’t even have mobile phones, so we tried to teach them through home visits.

Q. What are the remedial steps being taken to cover the learning loss you mentioned?

Teacher: First, we have to work on the basic skills of children, because unless they are able to achieve these skills, they will not be able to study according to the grade syllabus. We are continuing to use workbooks and online videos for the same.

Q. How is the learning gap being filled for students who were not able to attend online classes before the reopening of schools?

Teacher: It is difficult to so quickly fill the gap caused because of not attending online classes. Still we are trying our best and following the guidelines we have received. I believe children also need to put effort along with the teachers to cover this gap.

Q. What kind of challenges are you facing in operating the school?

Teacher: There are many challenges: following COVID-19 guidelines, ensuring social distance, conducting assemblies for prayers. Also, mid-day meals are being made in the school. We are working on everything from the preparation of food to feeding the children, so that children do not face any problem.

Q. Have you received any instructions from the government on how classroom teaching must be done now?

Teacher: Yes, we have received instructions that Class-1 and Class-2 students need to be seated in the same classroom and taught by the same teacher. Children in Class-2 are being taught Class-1 syllabus so they can revise the topics.

At present we are preparing for Pratibha Parv scheduled to happen between 17 and 24 January. The program will include tests on Hindi, Math, English over three days. All the teachers are busy with preparations for these tests.

Q. Have you received any kind of teacher training to address these challenges?

Teacher: We have received NISHTHA (National Initiative for School Heads’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement) training.

Q. Have you received any precautionary supplies like masks and sanitisers from the government?

Teacher: We have arranged masks, sanitisers for the children using the contingency grant. Along with this, some teachers have also made masks at home and brought them for the children. We did not receive any separate grant from the government to buy masks or sanitisers, though a thermal machine has been given to check the temperature of the children.

This interview was conducted with a Teacher in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh in Hindi on 30 December 2021, and has been translated.

Source: Amit Dave/Reuters

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