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Importance Of Reopening Of Schools In A Systematic Manner And Necessity For The Students To Attend School

The physical school shutdowns have had serious implications on learning and education in the longer run.

Photo Credit : Ritesh Sharma,

COVID pandemic has left the entire world into a standstill position, be it commerce or education or maybe entertainment or tourism. As the world has started thinking of getting back to their feet and help the crumbling situation to recover, we think of education and its status in the advent of this deadly pandemic. According to a World Bank report, the protracted closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic in India may cause a loss of over $400 billion in the country's future earnings, besides substantial learning losses. The physical school shutdowns have had serious implications on learning and education in the longer run. Considering the short term focus we try our best to keep the fire alive and steer ahead with the continuity of education. Several debates have been coming up across the world, with a million-dollar question of ‘reopening of schools’. It is to be like a ‘To Be or Not to Be’ state. Lockdowns and shutdowns have been imposed off and on, making things more critical and floating a sense of fear in the air. 

The school is not just a place where there is an exchange of academics or learning process between the teacher and the taught. There are various aspects in the school learning and nothing can either be ignored or taken lightly. 

Learner and the Educator 

The major activity in the school is the learning process between the learner and the educator. Lots happen within the four walls of the classroom. The teacher teaches, deciphers concepts and makes an understanding of the students clear. Interactions happen throughout the time, where the learning portals of the students get unfolded, their skills get developed and they flourish with the guidance of the teachers. 

Peer Learning  

Peer learning that happens in the school has a tremendous impact on the students. They learn from their own friends through discussions, deliberations and debates and this makes learning more effective and better and also complete in a sense. 

Experiential Learning-beyond Classroom 

The third angle of the learning process which is enormously important is the practical aspect of learning which takes place outside the classroom but within the vicinity of the school. The students learn from the different labs like the Science labs, Maths lab, Computer Lab, Language Lab and most importantly the Nature Lab which is the playground and every nook and cranny of the school outside the classrooms. Complete learning is an integration of all these three ways and methods of the learning process. 

Limitations of Online Learning  

The learning has not stopped though, despite the pandemic. The online mode of learning transaction has been happening very effectively through the virtual mode via zoom or Google Meet. The concepts are very efficiently being disseminated by the teachers, however, the other two angles like the peer learning and the practical aspect has been seriously impacted. There are limitations of the virtual mode of learning as well. For example, the constant screen time impacts the eyes, concentration of the students decreases, for which they become less focused and additionally there is a huge stress on both the students and the teachers. Online learning process is more stressful and cannot be a substitute for the face to face learning. 

Forthcoming Board Examinations 

Another very crucial point is about Board examinees. Their learning needs to be guided face to face and also they have practical lessons to attend, complete records and other activities associated with it. Normally they have their practical exams in the second week of January or February followed by the Board exams. The Board exam will take place in its regular time with maybe with a slight delay. 

In such circumstances, if the children don’t start coming to school how will they complete their learning and ensure readiness for the Exams? They need to do all their practicals, practice lessons and also practice writing skills. This can seriously impact their performance in the Board exams. 

The schools should reopen in phases observing all the COVID guidelines like maintaining social distancing, wearing of masks etc. No classes would have more than 20/25 students. The reopening could start with the classes X and XII followed by IX and XI and eventually the other lower classes. 

With this slow and graded reopening, everyone will be able to adjust themselves right from the school to students, teachers and parents. There won’t be much pressure on anyone, also the school infrastructure will be able to take the load. It’s high time the schools reopen as everyone has reached a saturation point. Unless the teachers and students come back to school there can be a negative impact also which should be avoided.  

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house



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