Chennai: Students of Classes 1 to 8 in Tamil Nadu have started attending school after a gap of nearly 20 months. The Covid-19 pandemic had led to the closure of schools since March 2020.
The state school education department has stressed that ‘Happiness of Children’ is the priority and has framed directives that would support the next few weeks of schooling for children.
The Tamil Nadu education department is focusing on the fact that for the first 15 days, the children reaching schools is important rather than imparting teaching. For Class 1 and Class 2 students, who have never entered a physical classroom, the emphasis is more on the feel-good factor.
A senior official of the Tamil Nadu education department at Chennai while speaking to IANS said, “The minister for education and the education department officials have agreed upon that more than teaching the first few weeks be dedicated to making the children comfortable in schools, especially the small children. Teaching can commence even later, but the school education department is prepared with all the materials for the classrooms and to engage them meaningfully.”
Schools will have more activities for children, including storytelling, music, dance, drawing, and they will share their experiences of being at home.
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.
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 the 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 R.K., an engineer at Chennai whose daughter Kripa is attending Class I in a private school at Vadapalani 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 in school. I was worried about the child wearing 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.”