Effective Strategies to Bridge Learning Gap after Covid-19

Giving pointwise solutions, Mr. Mohd. Shariq, principal of the School of Excellence Kalkaji, New Delhi advised the audience to run programmes like ‘Mission Bunyaad’ based on baseline assessment to improve learning outcomes among students. For this purpose, he recommended to divide students on the basis of the baseline assessment for bridge classes, first.

Written by

Anwarulhaq Baig

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Giving pointwise solutions, Mr. Mohd. Shariq, principal of the School of Excellence Kalkaji, New Delhi advised the audience to run programmes like ‘Mission Bunyaad’ based on baseline assessment to improve learning outcomes among students. For this purpose, he recommended to divide students on the basis of the baseline assessment for bridge classes, first.

Explaining his second solution, Mr. Shariq suggested preparing an academic calendar to find out free days and time to conduct such bridge courses during free hours to fill learning gap.

Elaborating his third point related to the socio-emotional rehabilitation of students, Mr. Shariq held that children including other family members were spending more average time on mobile phones. According to him, a survey has revealed that the average per day per user time is over 2.5 hours and one user checks mobile over 40 times per hour while children are also rapidly addicting of it after the pandemic. Besides, he added that kids were rapidly suffering socio-psychological issues like loneliness and aggression due to Covid, which distracted the children from the teaching and learning activity. As the countermeasures, he recommended building capacity of teachers, along with drawing children’s attention back to studies and adopting other ways to rehabilitate children.

Calling technology an equalizer, in his fourth point, the principal of the School of Excellence asserted that the right to equality is more conveniently given by technology because technology empowers everyone irrespective of the background of socio-economically marginalised or backward classes. Terming it a tool for empowerment, he advised the teachers to build their capacity, through various digital resources, including Google classes, free digital courses designed by Google and Microsoft, e-repository and e-contents. Urging teachers to tap the potential of technology, he opined out that children were spending 2.5 to 3 hours on mobiles and even several digital companies were investing to gamify life skills and education.

Stressing on the need to establish a better connection between students and teachers which was badly affected due to pandemic, Mr. Shariq, while presenting his fifth point, affirmed that it would remove various socio-psychological issues including aggression and lack of concentration among children. “Students will make fast progress in topics when they are well-connected with the classes and studies,” he added.

Asking to set up school clusters, in his sixth and last point, Mr. Shariq asserted that 5 to 6 neighbouring schools should collaborate and work in coordination to address all above issues whether it be ‘Mission Bunyaad’ like structure, capacity building or addressing the socio-psychological issues. He stated that All India Ideal Teachers Association (AIITA) could play a good role in it.

Saying that there are three big sections of the NAS 2021, students, teachers and school management, Prof. Mohammad Faruq of NCERT emphasised on thoroughly analysing the data of all three sections, besides organising discussions with all the three stake holders. Calling capacity building the most important one, he instructed them to work on it, in an organised way instead of cascade mode. Endorsing adoption of schemes like Mission Bunyaad, and other programmes conducted by different states, Prof. Faruq affirmed that the academic calendar, class clusters, baseline survey, capacity building and remedial materials would give a better outcome.

Drawing attention towards implementation along with counter measures, Mr. Qazi Muhammad Miya, administrator of the Scholar School, New Delhi said that all available resources were implemented in his school when the learning process shifted from offline to online mode after the Covid.

Sharing his experiences, Mr. Miya recounted that they provided their teachers with training of the latest online teaching method without delay, and trained teachers, parents and students for smoothly using online mode as well as they regularly took advantages of all available materials including PRAGYATA, online education guidelines prepared by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). He informed that within a few months, they introduced the online free LMS, digital learning platform for teachers that allowed them to engage with their students anywhere and anytime during the last two years of Covid period.

Recounting the success story of his school, Mr. Miya further informed the audience that the school management condensed the syllabus and prepared digital materials, including learning videos for students which gave a good result, as well as it prepared teachers to effectively cope with the problem of learning gap after commencement of physical classes through various means, materials and government documents including Vidya Pravesh.

“In addition to abridging and redesigning the main syllabus, another internal or bridge course like syllabus was prepared for each class to improve students’ learning abilities. Following the Students-Centred-Learning Method, assessment tools like observations, profiling of students, checklist and rating scale were prepared to check the progress of students,” he added.

Mr. Faryad Ali, a teacher of the Hamdard Public school, New Delhi, drew the attention over the boosting the confidence level of the students which was shaken during the lockdown.

Commenting on the dismal condition of schools in Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Shakeel Ahmed, state President, AIITA UP West, pointed out that the poor performance, chronic teacher absenteeism, shortage of staff, lack of materials and infrastructures already continued to plague schools in the state, before the pandemic. Lamenting that new session began this month, but students are yet to get textbooks and uniforms, which usually become available only by August or September, he added that various schemes and programmes were being conducted to improve the learning situation, though the pandemic wiped out all such activities.

Mr. Shakeel said that they were teaching students from old books until the new books and uniforms were not available to the children. He apprised the participants of the All India Ideal Teachers Association’s activities related to the teachers training or improving the learning situation.

Mr. Murshid Ali, Vice President of AIITA, suggested conducting extra classes or weekly classes like ‘Mission Bunyaad’ throughout the year to fill learning gap after segregating students in various groups.

Summing up the discussion, Mr. Tanveer Ahmed concluded that first on policy level, we would forward the remedial measures for learning gap or deprivation to the Union Ministry of Education. These measures included demands to fill up vacancies in government schools immediately to contain the problem and form a committee to check or overcome weaknesses in Uttar Pradesh or in other states in the field of education. We will ask the Union government to implement good practices and experiments effectively adopted by some states, in other states too. We will also call upon the government to derive a scheme and allocate some fund under the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs for minority-run institutions to remove the learning gap and uplift these institutions.

Elaborating his second point related to the community, he said, “The JIH Markazi Taleemi Board in collaboration with some major NGOs, who are engaged in the education field, will call a grand conference to discuss solutions of the learning loss and gap of the community students. Along with other solutions, we will first suggest to them to introduce the AICU model in the community run institutions or in such schools where students of the community are studying in large numbers. For implementing the AICU on a large scale, resource persons and master-trainers in states should be produced, in collaboration with different NGOs.”

Focusing on the community participation, Mr. Ahmed stressed on the need to promote Vidya volunteers in the community and call the members of the community including housewives to come forward for running AICU. Depicting his last point, he underlined to devote the unutilised spaces of the community including marriage halls, mosques, education institutions, etc. for it, where AICUs could be established. (Concluded)