Delhi/Jalandhar May 27, 2020: “We cannot have one common plan for all schools to re-open them this year”- says Manish Sisodia while interacting with 1000 Delhi Government school principals to start the planning process for re-opening of schools.
“The reason we are following an elaborate planning process is that we need to keep many factors in mind before taking a decision. It is not just about maintaining social distancing or sanitization alone or calling one set of classes to school and not the others. Any decision will have far-reaching implications on children and their families because school is an integral part of our social life. It is not just about learning a few lessons from the textbooks but the lessons of life itself. Therefore, any plan should keep in mind all possible situations.” – Manish Sisodia, Deputy Chief Minister
“It is a nostalgic moment for all of us because when we first met with all the school principals after forming the Government in 2015, we talked about taking our schools to new heights where the sky is the limit. Today when I meet all my principals together for the first time after forming the government again in 2020, we are talking just about re-opening the school. However, I am hopeful that despite the change in the circumstances, together we will set new standards of school education again”- Manish Sisodia while interacting with 1000 Delhi Govt. School Principals New Delhi.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the Lockdown has caused closure of schools since March 2020. Deputy Chief Minister and Education Minister of Delhi, Shri Manish Sisodia on Wednesday, interacted with 1000+ principals of govt. schools and asked them to start preparing a school level plan, keeping their context in mind for reopening of schools, whenever a decision is taken in this regard.
The agenda of his meeting was twofold:
1. How should we stay connected with our children and their parents in this time when lockdown is impacting different people differently? This will help us to directly understand their situation and prepare better?
2. How do we plan the reopening of schools whenever we get the go ahead.
Unfolding the agenda, the Deputy Chief Minister asked the Principals to do two things:
1. First, reach out to all children through phone to see if they are in Delhi or have gone back to their native place. Also check if they were able to use online classes, SMS/IVR and what is their feedback about it.
2. Second, start the planning process for reopening of the school based on the context of your own school.
“School is a very important part of the society, and every school has different issues and aspects to work upon. Hence I appeal to you to lead an in-depth brainstorming at school level involving all key stakeholders and come up with a micro-plan on how to lead the transition when the time comes. We cannot have a common plan to re-open for all schools this year as the context of every school is different.”, Education Minister Manish Sisodia said.
Planning the reopening of school is a challenging task because apart from academic we have to keep many other factors in mind. Like health, safety, trust, emotional well being, and so on. And the other challenge is that all these have to be done without extra financial resources from the government.
To help the schools do that, a “Preparatory Planning Framework for Heads of Schools” has been issued by the DoE yesterday. As per this framework, all HoS will first meet in a cluster of about 10 to discuss about the issues that they need to keep in mind while planning for their school. This small group meeting will be between May 28-30 as per the schedule given by DoE. The meeting will be facilitated by senior HoS, DIET Principals etc as per the practice of last few years.
After this cluster meeting, when the HoS have fully understood the planning framework, they would go back to their respective schools, discuss about it with their teachers, parents, SMC members. Take help from TDCs and Mentor Teachers and then come up with their school level plan.
Principals have been asked to submit their school level plan to your DDE (Zone) and DDE (District) should study it. DDE (District) shall present a district wise plan to Deputy Chief Minister after 5th June 2020.
Explaining the planning framework, the Deputy Chief Minister said, it has 3 broad components:
1. What we need to keep in mind before we reopen the schools?
2. What we need to put in place before schools starts? This will require planning backwards.
3. What is the basis on which school makes its plan? For example strengths, limitations, overall context, etc
Deputy Chief Minister emphasized that school should keep the following points in mind while preparing their plan:
a. How should we provide social-emotional support to all our children?
b. How should we ensure that we stay in touch with all our children and support them so that they do not drop out from school and join the work force?
c. Which classes should come for daily teaching-learning when school reopens?
d. How should online method (internet enabled used) be used? What should be the mix, if any, between online and direct teaching learning?
e. Which regular activities that were conducted till last year should not be conducted this year?
f. What should be academic goal and focus for children in primary, upper primary, secondary and Sr. Secondary classes?
g. How are we going to raise the resource for our schools in order to implement our plan considering the fact that government funding will not be available for any additional activities?
On being asked about their initial thoughts on reopening schools, Atul Kumar, principal of SV Kakrola said, “We should call children of smaller classes to school regularly otherwise they might be stranded alone at home, if both parents are working”. He added that for older children, we can use online method. Another School Principal, Sunita Dahiya of SV Jaidev Park said, “The Social emotional need of all three key stakeholders- children, parents and teachers should be considered before opening the schools. Effort should be made to strengthen the bonding among them. School opening should be gradual.” Ritu Singhal, Principal of SKV Laxmi Nagar said, “Children in primary classes require regular reinforcement hence they should be called to school at least once a week”.