HT Chandigarh Our Take: Promote students automatically? Now is the time for innovation in education
The Chandigarh education department is planning to reduce the course load of students amid the Covid-19 lockdown for Classes 1 to 8 in government and aided schools of Chandigarh. The Central Board of School Education (CBSE) has already announced a 30% cut in the syllabus for classes 9 to 12.
UT district education officer (DEO) Harbir Anand has said that the department is planning to “reduce the syllabus for Class 1 to 8 to minimise the load of students in the lockdown.”
A committee, comprising school heads, teachers and education department officials, will be constituted to recommend the sections of the syllabus that can be omitted this year.
One needs to view the scenario as an unprecedented one, requiring careful manoeuvring with one objective in mind: That of the welfare of students. How will they derive the maximum benefit from this situation?
Even if it is a pruned syllabus, they should be taught the basics of each subject in the quickest possible time to ensure all bases are covered, and that they lose out on nothing in the short time they have left to complete the courses.
Encouraging them to do simple experiments at home with more focus on learning and observing, getting them to debate with teachers or classmates, watching informative documentaries related to their subjects on YouTube or educational TV programmes will help. Assignments can be delivered online and through post/courier to assess their performance.
Peer learning processes too can be adopted.
The focus should not be on how quickly they cover a truncated syllabus, but how much knowledge they absorb and grow at a time when lives have been turned upside down because of the pandemic.
Innovation is key. Children have been locked up at home for months now. A short and smart curriculum that also focuses on their mental and creative development and allows them to have fun while learning should be drawn up with the advice of academic experts.
To reduce stress, options to automatically promote students to the next class at the end of the session should be explored. In their free time, help them with yoga classes, exercises, quiz contests and spelling bees with attractive prizes to keep the competitive spirit alive.
Parents and guardians should also be involved in the entire learning process this year to academically cover as much ground as possible.
Schools in Chandigarh have been closed since March and many students have been facing an added challenge as they do not have the facilities to attend online classes. Roping in NGOs, retired teachers to take additional classes online or through social distancing in community centres can also be considered.
Lives are precious, young lives more so. This year, the focus should be on them, their mental health and their safety, even if it means not opening schools at all this year.
What’s the best way to help students this year?
Should students be promoted automatically this year in unprecedented Covid times? How can they cover all bases and have fun while learning even if the syllabus is pruned? Send your responses to Chandigarh@hindustantimes.com by July 17