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Delhi govt schools take classes to their students’ homes

PUBLISHED ON APR 03, 2020 10:25 PM IST

New Delhi: On Friday, Muskan Singh, a student of class five at a government senior secondary school in Karol Bagh, asked her parents to narrate to her the three best stories of their childhoods. The 10-year-old then spent the rest of the day writing one of her own, as a part of an activity assigned by her teacher.

This was the first school activity she was assigned since schools in the city shut, to prevent an outbreak of Covid-19. The school has now begun remotely sending activities to its students on a regular basis. Muskan’s father, Sumit Singh, a tailor, said he and his wife were worried about their daughter’s studies during the lockdown.

“Neither of us is educated, and we do not know how to engage her in any learning activity. We ask her to sit with her books everyday, but to no avail. She would spend the entire day watching TV. since she can’t go out to play during the lockdown. We are happy that the school has started sending her this work — she was very excited to do that,” he said.

On Monday, Delhi’s education minister Manish Sisodia directed government schools to send daily activities to students enrolled between nursery and class 8 through text messages, WhatsApp or in Interactive Voice Response (IVR) form, in an attempt to engage students in the learning process amid the lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease.

Students have been asked to maintain a record of these activities in their notebooks. These will later be evaluated by teachers and be considered as part of the students’ internal assessments.

According to the Delhi government ‘s education department, around six lakh students from nursery to class 8 in its schools were sent activities through SMS and over IVR on Friday.

Awadhesh Kumar Jha, principal of Sarvodaya Co-ed Vidyalaya in Rohini, said the school is sending simple tasks to its students on a daily basis.

“For students of nursery and kindergarten students, we have asked parents to make them learn the name of the vegetable that has been cooked at home, and make their child draw a picture of that vegetable in their notebook. For students of classes 1 and 2, we have asked parents to make their children think about all possible items at home that they can lock in their fists, and then them to actually check if their guess was right. I think this way, they will indulge in some thinking,” Jha said.

Some schools have also started sending videos of science and mathematics-based activities they can perform at home using available resources. Harpreet Kaur, principal of Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya in Tilak Nagar, on Friday shared a video with students of classes 6 to 8 on their class WhatsApp groups. In the video, a teacher demonstrated the hydrophilic nature of coronavirus. When a person uses soap to wash their hands, the virus gets attracted to the water — and does not remain on the body. “The teacher just used black pepper [to represent the virus] and soap in the activity. The students easily do this at home,” Kaur said.

Arti Qanungo, who teaches English at a government school in Shakarpur, said she sends 10 new words to her students every day, to help them learn the language at home. “English is a major challenge for many of our students. They tend to forget the language since a majority of them do not have any English-speaking person at home,” Qanungo said.

“I have also been sending them practice sheets every day, but not all of our students have access to smartphones. Many of them cannot study online. We are trying to call these students every day and tell them what they can write and read for the day,” she added.

Meanwhile, due to logistical challenges, government schools are yet to start online classes for class 12, as announced by Sisodia on Monday.

Binay Bhushan, director of the directorate of education (DoE), said the schools are trying to gather the details of students who have smartphones or such devices at home. “We have around 17,000 students who were given tablets by the government. We will start the online classes for them in a day or two. Meanwhile, we have asked teachers and principals to register the students who have their own devices at home for the classes,” he said.

The Delhi government had already announced that it will tie-up with a TV channel for online classes in the event the lockdown is extended. “We will need such an intervention, else many of our students will be left behind,” a senior official said.

In a statement issued on Friday, Sisodia’s office said that for classes 6 to 8, an exercise to help students understand how the family budget works was also designed. “In this activity, students were required to note down last month’s income and expenditure in their notebooks and analyse it,” it stated.

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