Schools in every nook and corner of Kashmir are opening next week. It has been a decades old practice to announce winter vacation in the month of December every year for a period of about three months and in the month of March next year, all educational institutions reopen for normal functioning. Colleges of the valley have started the academic activity from 15th February while schools upto higher secondary level are reopening from 1st March.
This year the reopening of these institutions is analysed differently in view of the challenge of COVID infection. All these educational institutions in valley were closed last year after the outbreak of COVID 19 pandemic and the announcement of lockdown. After the abrogation of article 370 and 35A by Indian parliament on August 5th 2019, schools across whole JK remained off for about six months. So this year in the month of March these schools are opening after an academic loss of about two years. The administration of JK has made strong preparations for the opening of Schools. Keeping schools open to sanitize and clean the building and classrooms before the target date speaks volumes about the magnitude of preparation level of administration. Announcing SOPs to be followed during real classroom teaching is also one of the steps administration has taken before these institutions are opened. Govt has played it’s role , parents are also eagerly waiting to see their kids studying in schools after a very long time and they are cooperating both with the administration as well as the school authorities in this endeavour. But most important thing is for the teachers to get themselves fully geared and prepared to compensate the huge academic loss of students. For this purpose both the school authorities and the teachers have to follow some fruitful procedures.
The buildings and the campuses of our schools are clean , sanitised and ready for the academic activity now because administration has already ordered for their cleaning and sanitization. What we need to do now is to take the steps for better class room activity so that the fruitful results can be achieved. On the very first day of School reopening, a balanced class time table must be framed based on mutual consensus of the teaching faculty without wasting further precious time of students. A balanced time table can be synthesized only when the interest and the specialisation of teachers is given a due weightage. After following this principle, we can expect better results. Making students aware about the current scenario of COVID, advising them to follow SOPs and mitigating their grievances with regard to pandemic is need of the hour.
Children of economically weaker sections must be identified from each class within a couple of days after school reopening so that financial aid can be provided to them from school poor fund account. Notebooks, pens , pencils and other much needed stationery items can be purchased from this aid so that in the whole academic year they won’t face any financial problem.
Teachers must keep in mind that they are dealing with those children whose parents are not affording to send their wards in private schools. It is our prime duty to teach them with utmost dedication, honesty and to mitigate their each issue because we draw handsome salaries from state exchequer only for this job.
After the time table has been set-up, teachers need to study and analyse the contents of the books they have been assigned. If they feel any kind of difficulty or issue, through discussions among fellow teachers and getting comprehensive study materials from the school library or nearest market can prove a successful activity both for the teachers as well as the student community. Break in between the two meetings of the daily activity shouldn’t be more than an hour in which both teachers and the students make themselves fresh and energised.
During morning assembly, precautionary measures with regard to check the COVID infection , maintaining SOPs and following administrative guidelines need to be the main parts of speechs. Apart from this, ten to fifteen minutes should be kept reserved each day for giving moral lessons. This will not only make the personality of students fully developed but the future of our next generation would also be bright. Humans especially students without morality are like beasts of the jungle. So in order to inculcate the real humanistic values among the students, we need to teach them moral lessons. Different kinds of student, teacher and other information is sought almost on daily basis both by the zonal as well as district offices. In order to minimise the time loss and to do such correspondences with ease, it is better to adopt the online internet based communications with the offices instead of sending each day one staff member to these offices with the required information because in most of our schools there is dearth of class 4th officials. Most important thing is that teachers must keep in mind that they are dealing with those children whose parents are not affording to send their wards in private schools. It is our prime duty to teach them with utmost dedication, honesty and to mitigate their each issue because we draw handsome salaries from state exchequer only for this job.
(Author teaches at Govt Secondary School Anderwan Ganderbal. Views are his own)