Academics in Pandemic

'Attendance was up to mark, syllabus already covered in online sessions'

Jatinder Singh, Principal, MGN School, UE, expounds on the steps taken to prepare Class X and XII students for board exams

Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, November 18

As the ongoing academic session 2020-21 is drawing to a close, Principal Jatinder Singh of MGN Public School, Urban Estate, has chalked out some plans on how students can gear up for the Board examinations. In an interaction, he also discussed his plans for taking physical pre-board exams by calling students to the school campus apart from sharing how and why regular classes for the senior secondary group could not be feasible despite a go-ahead by the government. Excerpts from the interview:

How have the offline classes for IX to XII standards taken off so far?

We have 700 students from Classes IX to XII but when we called them to school after the GOI and state government guidelines, only 15 students came. All were of Class X. Not even a single student from Classes IX, XI and XII came. So, we judged that the response was not so positive and the parents were still apprehensive. We sanitised the entire campus well. All students had their masks on. We ensured that they maintained proper distancing but parents feel that their wards would flout the norms once they were outside the classrooms.

So, did you not call the students again?

We did. We called our Class XII students to attend practical classes. The attendance was almost cent per cent. Just one or two students did not turn up on the scheduled date. But they came later and the teachers made them attend their missed practical classes.

Is the staff coming to the school?

Yes, we have called the teachers from tomorrow onwards. All Class XI teachers will be taking online classes of the students from the school. All HoDs will also start coming from tomorrow. We will have discussion and brainstorming on the campus tomorrow to discuss the further strategy on how and when to call the students again.

Do you intend to call the Class IX to XII students on a regular basis?

We will go step by step. As per the plan already devised, we will first call Class X and XII students for face-to-face interaction with teachers basically for getting their doubts removed. If things begin to move well, we will proceed further in a planned, safe manner.

How has been the response of CBSE so far? Have they come up with any schedule?

A recent communiqué that we received from the CBSE was regarding scheduling board practical examination from January 1 to February 8. We are yet to announce a datesheet but we have conveyed about this CBSE circular to the students and their parents.

How much syllabus of Class X and XII has been covered in the school?

We are done with the full syllabi of both the board classes. It got covered through online classes at a greater pace than the regular classes. The reason for this was that there was no disturbance in online sessions as is usually there in the school. The teachers have been taking full time classes. There have been no school functions, no annual day or sports events. So, classes went smoothly.

The CBSE has reduced the syllabus of board classes. Will it impact students’ knowledge?

Nearly 30 per cent of the syllabus has been reduced this time but we completed the entire syllabi for the students in our online classes. One reason was that by the time we got the notice for deletion, our teachers had already covered that portion. Since our students will get complete syllabus in NEET and JEE exams, we wanted to cover it in the school as well for better understanding. Being a lecturer of physics, I can personally say that some topics which have been deleted were very important and some less important topics like that on ‘mirrors’ ,which the students have already done in Class X, are still part of the syllabus.

What has been your take about the online examination conducted and how do you intend to take the pre-board exams?

We have taken two online examinations, one of which was MCQs and the other was subjective type. I do not think that it was a proper assessment because I believe that only a few good students have genuinely taken these. Many students probably cheated. So, I would say that it was not a genuine evaluation that we could do. Now, if everything goes well, we will take pre-board examinations in an offline manner. We will call the Class X and XII students to the school in January. We will make just 12 students sit in one classroom maintaining all the SOPs.

Can the ongoing session 2020-21 be termed as a gap year?

No, it will not be a gap year especially for the students of good schools like ours who have been extra cautious and have covered proper syllabus through available online modules. In fact, I believe that our students have understood the concepts in a far better way as we provided videos, PPTs, YouTube links besides the traditional blackboard method.

When do you think the regular school will be restored for all classes?

I do not think that proper school would be possible till all the students are vaccinated against the virus. So far, even the government orders are only for Classes IX to XII.

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