Virender Soni walked up to one of the teachers during a parent-teacher meeting (PTM) at a government school in the city and asked, “Madam, why are you dividing the children of the class into groups?”
Soni’s child studies in Class 9 of Government Girls Senior Secondary School in Soniya Vihar.
The teacher said, “This is a part of the government’s new scheme, Chunauti 2018, wherein children are assessed as per their reading and writing skills. Before we start teaching them the syllabus, they will be taught how to read and write.”
Not quite convinced, Soni shook his head and left.
For teachers, letting parents know about the scheme was the most important task at the first-ever PTM.
“We can’t explain the scheme to the parents in one go. So this time, we only showed them the assessment test results. We also told them about the child’s weaknesses,” said a science teacher.
The government launched Chunauti 2018 to address the diverse learning needs of children in the same class. Children would be regrouped according to their learning profile. This strategy is being adopted to allow teachers to proceed at varied pace so every child can learn. There will be three groups in Class 9, and two in Classes 6-8.
However, teachers are not convinced.
“We do not have enough rooms, desks, and chairs. We have to teach the children in corridors. Now this scheme makes our task even more difficult. We don’t know how it will work,” said an English language teacher at a Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Yamuna Vihar.
In some schools, teachers were briefed about what they should tell parents at the meeting. Chunauti was a must to explain.
But teachers failed to give the education minister’s letter to the parents. The letter urged the parents to help the government improve the learning levels at school.
“Chunauti 2018 has been launched to help children who dropped out of school after Class 9. We are improving the quality of education in our schools every day, through policies, new infrastructure (CCTVs, classrooms & furniture) and school visits. Now we want to involve the parents in the education of their children,” said education minister Manish Sisodia in his first official announcement to the press.
For this school, PTM is a usual event
The government may have been calling it the first-ever mega parent-teacher meeting, but for parents at Veer Savarkar Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Kalkaji, it was an usual event that takes place once in two-three months.
The school has been conducting such meetings for the past few years so the parents knew exactly what the PTM was all about. The only difference was that the participation of parents was higher than usual, said the teachers.
Wading through waterlogged roads, parents turned up in large numbers at the school, where 2,300 students are enrolled.
Located in south Delhi, this school is also one of the 54 model schools selected by the government. Even in comparison to other SKV’s, the school is of the better lot.
“Students were asked to make cards and get them signed by parents, so we know that the invitation had reached the parents. It was important for us that parents of all students come for the meet,” said Tavinder Kour, a schoolteacher.
Happy faces in this overcrowded school
Ambika Prasad Shukla, a proud father, walked into the Government Girls Senior Secondary School in Sonia Vihar on Saturday to attend his first ever parent-teacher meeting (PTM).
The school is overcrowded and children sit on corridors to study. There are nearly 5,400 students here.
But he said he had no complaints from the school or the teachers. He was just excited to see little efforts made by the school to host them despite problems.
“At home we cannot even manage 4 children. In this school one teacher is managing 100-150 children and even teaching. I will just get details about my daughter and go,” said Shukla.
Like Shukla, there were many such happy faces who visited classrooms to meet teachers. Many only wanted to know about their child’s progress and there were some who talked about cleanliness in the school.
The PTM was a first in the history of the school located across the Yamuna. Being the only school covering several neighbourhoods, including resettlement colonies, the PTM was an experience of sorts even for many teachers.
“Such experiences are good as we get to know about the children more properly,” said a teacher at the school.