Updated: Oct 18, 2022
Q. What steps have been taken by the government to maintain COVID-19 appropriate behaviour in the schools of your Block?
Block Resource Centre Coordinator (BRCC): When the schools reopened, our primary goal was to ensure the safety of children. Keeping that in mind, we arranged for masks and sanitisers, and encouraged parents to send their children to school.
Presently, the schools have been closed again, but the teachers distribute booklets and worksheets from house to house. Also, we use educational programs on radio and the television at Panchayat level to disseminate information. The teachers visit villages once or twice a week. If the children do not have a mobile phone, the teachers talk to their relatives so make phones available to them.
Q. What kind of funds or infrastructure have been provided to the schools in your Block for efficient functioning?
BRCC: We have not received any special funds for COVID-19 preparedness and have had to use our schools grants for any such expenditures. We received masks and sanitisers from the panchayat and social sector organisations, which we distributed among the students.
Q. Has there been any change in the enrollment numbers of students?
BRCC: There has been a significant change in enrollment numbers. In our Block, 2,000 students have enrolled in government schools. This figure is estimated to be around 15 to 16 thousand at the district level. We have received instruction to enrol students in the age-appropriate classes.
Q. Have you noticed any difference in learning levels? If yes, what measures are being taken to cover the deficit?
BRCC: There is a significant change in children’s learning. When children used to come to school, classes were held for all the subjects and they studied accordingly. Now, during online studies, we see a lack of interest from them.
Our effort remains towards providing the children with quality education and basic competencies. After the closure of the school again, studies are going on through radio, TV, mobile. Teachers talk to five children every day. Children send their homework on a WhatsApp group and if they face any difficulties, they contact the teachers directly.
Q. Have the teachers been provided any training?
BRCC: We have received NISHTHA (National Initiative for School Heads’ and Teachers’ Holistic Advancement) training containing five modules, twice a month. During the pandemic, we received training on the DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for School Education) app. Along with other subjects, we have received training on how to teach children in these difficult situations on the app.
Q. How has your work changed during the COVID-19 pandemic?
BRCC: Our workload has definitely increased. When the schools had reopened recently, we could provide them materials and prepare for the lessons at one place. But since the schools have closed again, we have to go house-to-house to assess how each student is performing. The effort is more than the results.
This interview was conducted with a Block Resource Centre Coordinator in Madhya Pradesh in Hindi on 17 January 2022, and has been translated.
All schools for Classes 1 to 12 were instructed to open at full capacity with immediate effect in a circular by the MP government issued on 12 February 2022.