Kerala’s success shows what can be achieved when public and voluntary agencies work together, says report
UNICEF has termed ‘inclusive’ and ‘innovative’ the measures initiated by the government to overcome the challenges faced by schoolchildren during the COVID-19 pandemic. A UNICEF report that documents these initiatives was released by Minister for General Education C. Ravindranath recently.
The State’s success in ensuring students’ academic and social development during the pandemic is testimony to what can be achieved when public and voluntary agencies work together, says the report.
It details the impact of school closure on children and the challenges faced by the system in ensuring uninterrupted education of children, along with their physical, emotional, and psychosocial development. Involvement of all children in the educational process was the biggest priority.
VICTERS channel was used to host digital classes from the start of the academic year and it required much coordination in preparation of classes and follow-up. Community engagement was needed to provide all children access to digital equipment.
Steps were taken to address pedagogic challenges, with teachers and parents contributing to the efforts. Evaluation through social media groups helped create a sense of camaraderie among students. That the General Education Department could overcome the manifold hurdles is a tribute to the cooperation and civic spirit of the people of Kerala, it says.
Though the initiatives cannot replace classroom education, they have given State immense learning opportunities. The challenge ahead is to develop new models.
Teacher training that took the digital route and other initiatives taken up by government agencies have been acknowledged in the report. Some of these are Whiteboard, the digital classes for children with special needs; Aksharavriksham that boosted student’s creativity; Avadhikala Santhoshangal for developing fitness, technical skills, and fostering creativity; Vayana Vasantham to promote reading; and Poottatha Patashala to prepare higher secondary students for examinations.
The report talks about the successful conduct of annual examinations amid the pandemic. Release of health care guidelines, management of exam centres inside and outside the State, and disinfection and other safety measure swere some of the measures taken for the conduct of the examinations.