Published: 06th January 2021
TN School Association asks govt to reopen schools as students can't take it any more
The Association is demanding that classes be held with 50 per cent capacity in each class in two sessions and starting with three hours a day
The Tamil Nadu Nursery, Primary, Matriculation, Higher Secondary and CBSE Schools Association has written to the School Education Department, the MHRD and the Tamil Nadu CM seeking clarity on the reopening of schools in the state. The Association raised several issues that students, parents and teachers were facing due to the lack of clear guidelines or a mandate regarding the reopening of schools.
“The government and private schools that were following the state syllabus were to hold their annual exams in April 2020. In the absence of a clear consensus from the government, schools resorted to their own individual and independent form of assessment post which their vacation started,” the Association said.
“Several leading psychologists have come out and advised the government that keeping children away from schools will impact learning greatly. The prolonged absence of formal education and isolation will recede their learning process and have immense psychological impact on children. The MHRD has duly accepted this advisory and recommended reopening of schools way back in October but the State government has not even discussed these issues,” the Association said in its statement.
They argued that promoting children who have not understood or learnt the syllabus or skills would increase the burden on them the following year. “We can’t repeat the year for everyone as many children have been attending online classes and we also can’t selectively hold back children in classes as this will lead to disparity in the classroom ratio and cause mental trauma. We have to ensure that our children do not fall below national standards,” the Association stated.
The Association insisted the decision should be left to the teacher, “The discretion of promoting children must be left to the teacher. If the child is not adequately prepared for the next academic year then they will have to be detained.”
It reminded the government that its own data shows that the spread of COVID-19 had been restricted to few towns and cities like Chennai and Coimbatore, “We fail to understand why schools in 15979 villages in Tamil Nadu and the thousand-odd towns has to be in lockdown mode when the Central Government’s own advisory was to open schools outside containment zone.” The Association argued that the government had been opening up rest of the sectors including entertainment and leisure in Tamil Nadu , “If that does not pose a safety threat how can sitting in a school for a few hours following all SOPs pose a threat to children. Does this mean that the government does not believe in its own SOP?” they questioned.
The Association is demanding that classes be held with 50 per cent capacity in each class in two sessions, “We can start with three hours a day for children and run two batches, this can slowly be extended to a full day. Parents may volunteer to ensure schools follow all the SOPs. As per the MHRD’s circular, attendance will not be mandatory. Parents who have concerns over children’s safety can still use the online mode with occasional interaction with the schools.” They also demanded that the school year be extended till June 12 and final exams to be scheduled between June 1 and 12. “This will give us sufficient time to ensure that even children who have made no attempts to learn during the lockdown are sufficiently trained. The exams may be conducted during the same time as the public exams in batches. This will save time during exams. The next academic year can start after a gap of ten days,” the Association advised.