Swastika Pawar, a Class 4 student and resident of Kasheli village in Thane, found it difficult to read books of even Class 2 post pandemic.
The 10-year-old Pawar could rarely attend online classes due to poor network and unaffordable internet services for the last two years. This had a great impact on her reading and writing abilities. Since the start of offline school, the teacher in the Zilla Parishad school at Kasheli is helping her to cope with studies.
Just like Pawar, there are many other students who are finding it a task to cope with the curriculum and offline classes. While some students have become slow in terms of reading, many others are finding it difficult to write in detail. Most students from Zilla Parishad schools across Thane district have noted such issues as not all of them had proper and continuous access to online education in the last two years. Teachers are now conducting special sessions for such students.
“In the last few months, my teacher understood that I was not able to read or write like I used to earlier and hence she gave me extra homework and special sessions. Initially, I was made to sit with a Class 1 student so that I could revise and gradually learn. Now I am sitting with my classmates in Class 4 and am able to read and write like others. Sometimes, my hand hurts after writing for long and in such instances my teacher allows me to rest and complete the notes later at home. This has also revived my interest in studies, ”said Pawar, a student of Kasheli Zilla Parishad School, Bhiwandi.
Teachers have come together to help students with their academics. Even during the pandemic, the situation was not severe in rural areas initially. During this period, teachers used to come to school and share worksheets with students while maintaining Covid protocols to ensure that students managed to remain in touch with their academics.
Most of the students who are a part of Zilla Parishad schools do not have parents who can help with studies. This makes it difficult for them to understand the concepts in online classes. Moreover, their access to the internet is very limited.
Santosh Sonawane, teacher, Zilla Parishad school Alyani in Shahapur, said, “Maths is one such subject where students need guidance. With the start of offline classes, I ensured that students are given basic Maths revision as homework. Also, they were given enough reading and writing practice in all the three languages. The teaching pattern was also changed post pandemic. The students were taught everything with the help of a storyline in an animated manner instead of reading the chapters directly from the textbook. This included Maths concepts as well that were taught with the help of props and puzzles to make it interesting. ”
Similarly, schools in urban areas of the district have opted for measures such that students find it easy to cope with offline schools. Vinita Raj, principal, Sacred Heart School, Kalyan, said, “When the school reopened for offline classes, we ensured that only 50% of the students were catered to in one session. While some had forgotten to even hold a pen in the primary sections, many children found it difficult to run around and be agile. Hence, we started with activity sessions for the first fortnight. We focused on outdoor sessions and did not force studies upon the students. Our priority was to make the students socially attached to each other and adapt to the school schedule of studying, physical activity and break timings. ”
A similar effort was taken at pre-schools in the city as well. Preeti Dua, center head, EuroKids Pre-school, Ghodbunder Road, Thane said, “We have a customized settling program for our children to help them get accustomed to the offline sessions. This settling program includes various exciting sessions to captivate the students and promote daily attendance at the pre-school. Some of these sessions include outdoor activities, music sessions, yoga sessions, and many more. These sessions are helping the children to interact with their peers and their teachers. ”