HT Dialogues: Experts discuss the challenges of reopening schools
Focus on mental health, continued learning in blended modes, smoother transition from online to offline learning and enforcing safety measures stringently were among concerns discussed by principals, parents, and teachers during the HT Dialogues session on Thursday which focused on reopening of schools post pandemic.
The session was attended by Jyoti Arora, Principal, Mount Abu Public School Sector 5, Delhi; Dr. Kavita Aggarwal, Director and Head, D.G. Khetan International School , Malad West, Mumbai; Roma Das, Associate Principal, Mount Carmel School, Delhi; Johannes Burgers, Assistant Professor of English & Digital Humanities, Ashoka University and Neeraj Sharma, parent of a student at St. Mark’s Girls Sr Sec School, Delhi. Hindustan Times’’ political editor Sunetra Choudhary was the moderator. While schools were shut following the nationwide lockdown, since January this year schools reopened for senior students in many states. Parents like Sharma raised concerns over addressing the mental health condition of children.
“The period of uncertainty took a toll on children. So, it is not just upgrading infrastructure for classes but schools have to deal with learning gaps and the social and emotional well-being of children,” said Arora.
“In Mumbai, students haven’t returned to schools yet. With the rise in cases, it is going to be more delayed. We are hoping at least senior students are able to join in June when the new academic session begins,” said Aggarwal. “An issue with online learning is knowledge retention. How much can a student retain by sitting in front of the computer for eight hours? Educators at our university got an opportunity to re-evaluate curriculum and to introduce new ways of learning through online ecosystem,” Burgers said.