'Have Not Received Instructions to Prepare Mid-Day Meals'

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


Teacher: Yes, there has been a slight decrease in enrollment. The main reason for this is that the children of Nepali families who used to study here have gone back to Nepal, because their parents were unable to earn wages due to COVID-19. There has been no drop in the enrollment of local children and they are returning to school like before the pandemic.


Q. Since children have physically come to school after a long time, is there a difference in their learning levels? Are remedial steps being taken?


Teacher: There is no doubt that the learning levels of the children have fallen sharply. Children have forgotten the things we had taught them. This is very worrying for all of us because if children keep forgetting their basics then how will we be able to teach them further!


We have been asked to teach the children according to their syllabus. But the ground situation is that we also have to ensure that we are conducting revisions for children for concepts we had taught in the past during the same school time.


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


Teacher: In reality, it is very difficult to accomplish. If we spend a lot of time with some children on old things, then the studies of other children will also be affected. I try to get all the students on the same track but at the same time we also have to think about the future syllabus.


Q. What kind of challenges are you facing in operating the school? Have there been any difficulties in distributing mid-day meals to the children?


Teacher: We have yet not received the instructions to prepare mid-day meals (MDM) in the school. Therefore, we give dry ration to the children. In the past, MDM workers in many schools were found to be COVID-19 positive, due to which the government instructed us to provide dry ration to the children to ensure their safety.


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


Teacher: Schools have reopened after a lot of difficulties but we are still completely serious about COVID-19. In the morning, everyone is thermally screened and if we see any symptoms in a child, they are immediately sent home. Apart from this, we have also taken care of physical distancing in the classroom. For now, we have stopped any and all activities in the school where children can crowd at a place.


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


Teacher: Yes. We had received instructions from the Block Education Officer regarding the seating arrangement for the children. Along with this, we also receive timely instructions from the Cluster Resource Centre Coordinator to pay attention to the students’ education and try to make students come to school regularly.


Q. How is COVID-19 appropriate behaviour being taken care of in the school? Have you received any precautionary supplies like masks and sanitisers from the government?


Teacher: Yes, we received a machine to screen the children. Apart from this, we also received masks, sanitisers, and hand wash.


This interview was conducted with a Teacher in Himachal Pradesh in Hindi on 25 December 2021, and has been translated.


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