Published: 01st November 2021
Tamil Nadu schools reopen for Class 1-8 students after 19-month gap, students welcomed with sweets, flowers
To mark the occasion, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu MK Stalin visited some Chennai corporation schools to welcome back students and also distribute sweets and school supplies
Schools in Tamil Nadu reopened for students of Classes 1 to 8 on November 1 after a gap of 19 months. This is the first time since March 2020 that nearly one crore students in the state are going back to school. Earlier, students of Classes of 9 to 12 were allowed to come back but this is the first time that the younger students are attending physical classes after studying online for 19 months.
To mark the occasion, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu MK Stalin visited some Chennai corporation schools to welcome back students and also distribute sweets and school supplies. Schools in Coimbatore and Pollachi also celebrated students' return with flower bouquets and sweets, maintaining COVID protocols.
Congratulating the School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, MLA Udhayanidhi Stalin tweeted, "School in Pollachi and Coimbatore warmly welcomes children after one and a half years with bouquets and sweets. Congratulations on excelling in education by vigilantly following COVID prevention methods."
The move came after the CM on October 30 asked all schools to welcome their students in a celebratory manner with sweets and flowers. The CM had also asked ministers, local body representatives, MLAs and MPs of the state to do their bit to make students feel welcome after such a long time.
But students will not be immediately thrown into academics. Based on the CM's advice, the education department has announced that students will be eased into the curriculum and the academic environment in the first two weeks with the help of drawing, storytelling, painting, singing and various other creative classes. The Tamil Nadu State Council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) has prepared a bridge course that will be taught after the first two weeks for all classes.
A senior official of the Tamil Nadu education department, while speaking to IANS, said, "The Minister for Education and the Education Department officials have agreed that more than teaching, the first few weeks be dedicated to making the children comfortable in schools, especially the younger children. Teaching can commence later, but the school education department is prepared with all the materials for the classrooms and to engage them meaningfully."
Sujith Chandrakumar, Principal, Mount Garden School, Erode, while speaking to IANS, said, "Our focus will be more on improving the writing skills of students, especially those from lower classes as most of them don't have writing experience. Then we will make them speak, read and improve their listening skills and we have told our teachers to be more patient and to be good listeners on what children have to say about their 'close-down' experience during the pandemic."
The State education department has also told the schools to provide break times in large numbers so that children don't have a feel that they are being put within the confines of their classes for long. Manikumar RK, an engineer from Chennai, whose daughter Kripa is a Class 1 student at a private school at Vadapalani and is entering the campus for the first time. While speaking to IANS, Manikumar said, "We will reach the school early as I want my daughter to understand that there are specific timings. I was worried about the child wearing the mask for a long time and feared that she may exchange her mask with another child. Teachers have assured me that a lot of breaks will be provided for the children and teachers and non-teaching staff would be strictly monitoring the children."
Some schools have also found ways to divide their students' strengths and conduct physical classes for each group on alternate days.