Updated: May 6
Q. Has there been a change in student enrollment as well as attendance?
Teacher: Yes, there is a change in enrollment. We had children from families belonging to other states in our school, but due to the lockdown, they left the school and went back to their native states.
Another thing is that some people from the adjoining villages who were living in the cities have come back and enrolled their children in our school. The attendance was quite poor earlier but it has increased a lot now.
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: Yes, there are visible differences in children’s learning levels. The schools were closed for a long time and online education was not very effective. Efforts were made by the government, department and teachers, but due to problems such as weak mobile network connectivity, lack of target setting for children, and unavailability of school environment, there has been a decrease in the learning levels.
The teachers are trying to cover these differences now. I have made some groups based on children’s learning level and am teaching them accordingly. Our focus is on children who are further behind. Along with this, a bridge course was also taught.
Q. How is the learning gap being filled for students who were not able to attend online classes before the reopening of schools?
Teacher: No specific remedial measures have been taken for the children who did not take online classes. But more time is being devoted to children who are further behind in studies. Also we are doing a lot of revision with the children.
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: Yes, we are facing a few challenges on the guidelines given by the government regarding COVID-19. The reason for the same is that our school is quite big and enrollment is also very high. There are 4 divisions for each class and the school is being run in two shifts, due to which both children and teachers are facing difficulties.
No hot-cooked food is being provided by the school. Instead, children are given ration along with biscuits. Maybe children will get hot, fresh food again in the near future.
Q. How have your duties and responsibilities changed after the reopening of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Teacher: Schools have just opened regularly, so we are focusing on day-to-day teaching. But work with respect to COVID-19 protocols has also increased; all the teachers have been given the responsibility to check the temperatures of students in their class. We have to keep a complete record of this and report it as well. Also because the enrollment of our school is high, we have to fix the seating arrangement.
Q. Have you received any kind of teacher training to address these challenges?
Teacher: We have received training; when online classes were going on, we received training on how to conduct online studies. After the schools reopened, we also received training from the Block Office regarding teaching, COVID-19 protocol, and maintaining children's records. Apart from this, all the instructions are given to us directly from the Cluster Resource Centre Coordinator and through Whatsapp.
Q. Has your school received annual grants in the last two years? Along with this, have you received separate funds to reopen the school?
Teacher: We have received the annual grants that we get regularly. No such separate funds have been granted for reopening the school or ensuring COVID-19 protocols. We are working with our own money here. Before the school had opened, the municipality had sanitised the school. We have not received 15th Finance Commission funds.
This interview was conducted with a Teacher in Maharashtra in Hindi on 30 December 2021, and has been translated.
Source: TESS India