Covid plays spoilsport
“In such unprecedented times to even think of remedial and creative classes seems like a challenge. Students are the worst hit with no sports, dance or physical activities for over a year now. Schools should be given the autonomy to address the holistic needs of their students and strike a balance between their safety and academic interests. They may conduct counselling sessions for students’ emotional wellness, and offer bridge courses to address the learning gaps,” says Sushanta Kumar Bhattacharyya, president, Action Committee of Private Unaided Recognised Schools and former principal of Bal Bharti Public School, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital Marg, New Delhi.
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Break from routine
Reflecting on the positive outcomes of a summer vacation, Principal Vandana Lulla of Podar International School – IB/ Cambridge that has suspended online classes till school reopens virtually in mid-June, says, “A break during the summer gives students a chance to refresh, relax and learn more than what is taught in schools. Consequently, our students have been asked to stay away from their gadgets, bond with their families and take up some hobby sans the use of their screens. Throughout the pandemic, we have revisited topics on resilience, responsible digital citizenship and conflict resolution to enhance their life skills and emotional intelligence.”
Most schools, she adds, are going into a 40-day break which is a good duration for all concerned. Longer than this, may outrun its benefits. “Children can neither play outdoors nor socialise, they would be stuck indoors largely to their screens which may not be constructive.”
An early summer vacation will make students lethargic, says Pallavi Upadhyaya, principal, DPS Rajnagar Extension Ghaziabad that has been conducting virtual remedial classes along with workshops for parents to identify depression and stress in their children. Upadhyaya explains that a daily routine is necessary to keep the students anchored.
Race against time
Highlighting that most of the lessons have numerous activities such as art integration of the topics to enhance the learning process, she says that an extended summer vacation will force schools to rush through the syllabus. “The board in 2021 has included all the chapters that had been deleted while rationalising the syllabus for the last academic session. It will be a challenge to finish the syllabus if the vacations are extended. Besides, if students have too much time on their hands, they may not be able to utilise it fruitfully without proper guidance.”