Parents wary, few students of classes 10, 12 turn up for in-person classes in Delhi schools
Although the attendance of classes 10 and 12 students in public and private schools has improved in the past week, principals of a few schools said some parents are still wary of sending their children to school in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Malini Narayanan, chairperson of the National Progressive Schools’ Conference, which has 122 Delhi schools as members, said, “We held a meeting recently to check the attendance rate across schools. In Delhi, we have noted varying attendance, from 50%-90%. Currently, we are looking at them as Class 11 students and introducing them to various lab apparatus. We are teaching them to handle the burette and pipette because they have been doing their practicals only on simulation labs. Once the government gives the go-ahead, we can start theory lessons as well.”
Narayanan also said a few parents are still sceptical of sending children to school in the absence of school buses and other factors. “Some of our students are currently in other cities. We have been writing to parents and asking them to return so that children may get some practical experience. The lack of vaccines for children has been a major deterrent in convincing them,” she said.
Several private schools in the city, including Ahlcon International School, Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Laxman Public School, Bal Bharati Public School, Springdales School, Sanskriti School, Delhi Public School, and Amity International School are NPSC member schools. Teachers and principals HT spoke to welcomed the decision to allow students back to school to bridge learning gaps created due to online classes introduced in March last year after schools were shut on account of the pandemic.
Schools are also waiting for submissions to be made by a Delhi Disaster Management committee on August 25. The committee, comprising health and education department officials, was tasked with formulating standard operating procedures for reopening of educational institutions and colleges. The Delhi government will take a call on reopening based on the committee recommendations.
Jyoti Arora, principal of Mount Abu Public School in Rohini, said, “Learning gap has been a common feedback from teachers who have interacted with the classes 10 and 12 students. While board students are back to school, we are waiting to see when other students will be allowed back to school. The reopening has to be staggered. Allowing all students to return at one go won’t work as we have to see if schools have the infrastructure to accommodate all students while ensuring Covid-19 protocols.”
At Arora’s school, around 80% of students were attending the science practicals while about 30% students are attending school in the commerce section.
Meanwhile, at government schools, teachers are taking it slow and planning to resume classes as well as practicals beginning September.
Awadhesh Kumar Jha, principal of a government school in Rohini, said attendance has picked up in the past one week. “We have been holding orientations and easing students back in to the regular mode, but we plan to start regular lessons only from September. Since we were adapted to online learning for 1.5 years and had not even met students, we have to talk to them about the subject outline, curriculum, and how to study before rushing into practicals,” he said.