Educational institutes in Ludhiana learn a lesson in adaptation
The education sector underwent a complete transformation in 2020 as it substituted the age-old classroom with virtual classes and incorporated Zoom Classes, You Tube Live sessions, Doordarshan classes and pre-recorded lectures to its repertoire.
After schools were closed in March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, teachers and students had to upskill and embrace technology to ensure learning was not disrupted. The chasm between the rich and the poor was apparent as while private schools were able to use of technology to reach out to students, government schools sadly staggered behind, facing hurdles such as non-availability of smart phones and laptops among the student body, insufficient data packs and poor internet connections.
To ensure no child was left behind, the state education department tied up with different radio and television channels so that government school students who did not have access to advanced technology could catch up. However, the measures fell short as they had to cater to a vast audience.
Schools restarted for students of Class 9 to 12 in October, however, with infections on the rise, minimal attendance was recorded. Around 12 government schools had to shut down after a few teachers contracted the deadly virus.
The sale of books and uniforms was also affected. Once the lockdown was lifted in June, the sales of books picked up but few people purchased uniforms even after schools reopened in October.
The year 2020 will also be remembered for the students’ excellent performance in board exams. Many teachers and principals were also honoured for increasing enrolment in government schools.
In the Class-12 Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) results, Gurveen Kaur, a humanities student at Sacred Heart Convent School, Sarabha Nagar, scored a whopping 99.8%. In the CBSE Class-10 examinations, a student of the same school scored 98.6%. While government senior secondary school (GSSS), Rajewal, student Balwinder Kaur, who appeared in the Class-12 Punjab School Education Board Balwinder Kaur, scored 99.78% in humanities and stood first in the district.
Gurpreet Singh Wadhwa ranked 23 in the Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced).
Rural govt school wins award
SPS GSSS (boys), Gill, was adjudged second in the best school category during the second edition of the Ministry of Jal Shakti’s National Water Awards. The school was awarded for its outstanding efforts in the area of water conversation.
Student wins national-level quiz
A student of GSSS, Jawahar Nagar, Jiya Seth, topped in a national-level online competition organised by Xplore and Vigyan Prasar.
2,000 teachers and school heads honoured
In the last six months, state education secretary Krishan Kumar has applauded school teachers and heads for making efforts to increase enrolment in their respective schools. Appreciation letters were issued to them and many primary and middle school teachers were appreciated for using e-content.
3 teachers get state award, DEOs receive administrative award
Former district educational officer (DEO) secondary Swaranjit Kaur, DEO elementary Rajinder Kaur received administrative awards, while GSSS, Threeke, teacher Rapwinder Kaur, GSSS, Siyaar, principal Jatinder Pal Sharma and GPS ,Jargari, teacher Parvinder Kaur received state awards.
Prolonged parents’ protest
The year also saw large-scale layoffs and business losses, due to which many parents were unable to deposit their wards’ fee amid lockdown and demanded that the admission fee and hiked tuition fee be scrapped. Multiple parents’ associations remained at odds with the school administration for four months. The associations contended that several private schools were demanding that parents deposit fee and other charges during the lockdown despite the state government’s instructions to the contrary.
Six show-cause notices
Despite directions from the education minister not to charge any fee during lockdown, the state education minister had to issue show-cause notices to six private schools. Later, the state education minister cancelled the no-objection certificates of three private schools for defying government instructions.
School asked to close permanently
After a private, unrecognised school, Gaurav Ghai Public School in Punjabi Bagh, Jawaddi, was found holding examinations despite the state government’s instructions, DEO elementary Rajinder Kaur ordered its permanent closure with immediate effect.
Pre-schools shut down
The pandemic forced around 25 pre-schools across the city to shut shop, leaving teachers without a job. Facing an uncertain future and unable to meet fix expenses a number of playschools in Gurdev Nagar, South city, Pakhowal Road, Ghumar Mandi, Dugri and Civil Lines closed down.
PSEB, SCERT goof up
Around 10 students missed their Class 10 (open school) Punjabi examination due to Punjab School Education Board’s (PSEB) goof-up. The admit card issued to the students mentioned the examination time from 2pm to 5.15pm. However, the exam was conducted between 11am to 2.15pm at 20 examination centres across the district. In another mix-up, the SCERT uploaded the question paper for the National Talent Search Examination on their official website a day before the exam.
ETT recruitment exam: 2 booked for personation
Two women were booked for cheating and personation after they attempted to appear for the elementary training teachers (ETT) recruitment exam using the same roll number. The accused were identified as Kiran Rani, a resident of Jalalbad, and Asha Rani of Faridkot. The incident was reported at Senior Secondary Residential School for Meritorious students, near Rose Garden, where the exam was being conducted for 301 candidates.