'Schools Are Closed Not The Education' Says Industry Experts

BW Education hosted a panel discussion on "Analyzing The Needs To Resume Physical Classroom System," as a part of its Top Education Brands Summit & Awards.

Schools have been closed since March 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in India. Nevertheless, there is uncertainty about the school's reopening date in India. Although steps have been taken to unlock it, there is no fixed date for all the schools to reopen. With the increasing number of cases recovered, many schools have started working with a limited number of staff members. Now, parents, students and teachers are eagerly waiting for the normal classrooms to resume. To discuss this in a broader perspective, the panel had the experts of the domain: Anirudh Gupta, CEO, DCM Group of Schools; Kavitha Jain, Director, MDN Edify Education; Lt Gen Surendra Kulkarni, Director, Mayo College; Virendra Rawat, Founder Director, Global Green School and Swati Popat, President, Podar Education Network (Session Chair). 

Explaining the context of boarding schools, Lt Gen Kulkarni said, “In a boarding school, you have the capacity to restrict access to the children. Once they come from home after being tested negative and go through 14-day quarantine. The number of people they would actually come in contact which can be highly regulated much more than it would be at home or in their local communities. Schools have been running and schools are open only the classrooms are being closed. Therefore the school system is functional at present.” 

Talking about various aspect of school reopening, Gupta affirmed, For the reopening of the physical classrooms, there is a need to fix the academic aspect then we can say health and safety precautions aspect and the regulatory aspect. It's the state government and Ministry of Home Affairs can be deciding all this whether the schools and colleges will be open or not. Even though the precaution of the schools are very robust, protocol ecosystem is in place, but at the end of the day, it's the state government's call whether those classrooms can be opened or not. 

Stressing on parameters for opening classrooms, Jain expressed, “There are many factors that we should consider before thinking about reopening of classrooms. These factors include the location of the school and how the pandemic is impactful that location etc. A total of 42 per cent of the school has been now reopened. So, we are good to open schools when the number of cases is under fire. Also, there are some parameters that could be decided to ensure the safety of kids in every state and every city. I would say in fact even within the city in different zones if those parameters are well laid out by our regulatory bodies, it will become easier for organizations to decide how safe it is to set up schools.” 

Explaining the impact of online education, Rawat said, "We don't have well-trained teachers for online teaching and online teaching is not the mainstream teaching. We don’t know whether this is making any impact or not. We also tried a hybrid mode of schooling, but that was also not making an impact. So our goal is that we have to make learning spaces safer than before trying it on public spaces. Also, the government should start giving online system training to government school teachers as they are not trained as private teachers are because every child matters." 

The event was concluded successfully in partnership with the Tourism Finance Corporation of India.

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