Low turnout at PTM in Delhi as rain keeps people away
A large-scale parent-teachers’ meeting (PTM) across Delhi government schools, along with teachers from institutions run by the city’s civic bodies, kicked off on Monday and will continue till July 31, a move that is part of the state’s efforts to bridge the learning gaps brought about by online classes during the pandemic.
The turnouts across schools was, on the day, were lower than officials expected, likely due to the heavy downpour in the Capital, which received 69.6mm of rain till XXXpm. Officials in several schools in areas such as Trilokpuri, Rohini, Najafgarh, Badarpur, Janakpuri, Seelampur, and Lajpat Nagar said they expect more parents to arrive in the coming days.
“Heavy rainfall in our area since last [Sunday] night affected the attendance. Even then, half the parents of students in Class 6 came for the session. Most of the parents wanted to know when schools will reopen... Many also asked for more online lessons that keep internet data and bandwith constraints in mind. We have taken these suggestions into account and will work on such localised study plans on different subjects and upload them on YouTube,” said Awadhesh Kumar Jha, head of Sarvodaya Co-ed Vidyalaya in Rohini Sector 8.
Delhi deputy minister Manish Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, thanked parents for attending the meets despite the rain.
“Despite incessant rains, the enthusiasm shown by our teachers and parents for the PTM is commendable. This shows that our parents and teachers are committed to the education of children and their better social-emotional well-being,” said Sisodia in a statement.
The state education department this year decided to include teachers in municipal teachers because around 170,000 students move from corporation schools — that offer education only up to Class 5 — to state government schools in Class 6. This was done to ensure that the transition of students from corporation to Delhi government schools is smoother because classes have been held online since March last year and parents did not get a chance to get acquainted with the teachers at Delhi government schools.
On Monday, school authorities were seen operating helpdesks at the entrance of several schools before being ushered towards the classroom for a meeting with the teachers, with distancing and other Covid-appropriate protocols in place. Parents were also told about school management committees and the parent-outreach programme of these committees. Each teacher was asked to maintain a record of available smartphones among students.
Naghma (first name), whose daughter studies in Class 7 at a Delhi government school in Badarpur, said, “Though we have a low-end smartphone, it belongs to my husband, who goes out for work every day. We have requested the school to provide worksheets instead of online lessons, but they insisted on continuing online classes, because they are more interactive.”
Teachers involved with the PTM said despite asking parents to bring in the required documents and information on Monday, many were not able to do so. Neelam Raghuvanshi, a Class 6 teacher at a government school in Trilokpuri, said, “We have been apprising parents of various Delhi government schemes, including financial assistance under the Laadli scheme. We had asked parents to bring in documents related to these and those who could not bring in today, can bring in on Wednesday.”
Her corporation school counterpart Anu Yadav helped in tracking students who transitioned from MCD schools. “Many students or their families are in touch with me or have my number. So, they reach out to me regularly. Tapping into that network, we were able to find the updated contacts of many Class 6 students whose old numbers are defunct.”