Krishnagar Public School

– Questioning Holistic Education during this Global Crisis!!!

Krishnagar Public School, a CBSE affiliated senior secondary school in Nadia district, West Bengal has come up with some unique and innovative measures to continue the teaching-learning process with the least disruption possible.

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Millions of students in India have been affected by the school closure since March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic all across the country. As the entire nation is stranded in the confines of the homes, several schools have shifted to ‘online teaching’ from ‘Classroom teaching’ to render academic support to the students. At Krishnagar Public School, a CBSE affiliated senior secondary school in Nadia district, West Bengal in our battle to fight this crisis situation, we have tried to come up with some unique and innovative measures to continue the teaching-learning process with the least disruption possible.

As the Principal, I felt that our educational institution has the capacity to adopt it and our teachers under the guidance of our Vice-Principal, Ramesh Kumar Agarwal have the bandwidth to teach confidently over video conferencing apps. Moreover, every child’s coping mechanism is different and to ensure the holistic – physical, emotional and mental well-being of children we should sincerely try our best to make the days and life of our students stress-free and lively. Thankfully, we have a very supportive management headed by Naresh Chandra Das as our Chairman and Amitava Guha as our Director. Both are very pro-active in their approach and futuristic in their thoughts!

Online classes…

While completely obeying the directive of social distancing, we started live online classes for our Class X and XII students following a regular schedule from 25th March, 2020. Gradually, in four phases, we implemented the same for all classes from Pre-Nursery to Class XII. In order to facilitate the learning process, the teachers are continuously preparing digital content and videos on relevant topics and sharing with the students via ERP softwares and even popular social media. They are also making effective use of digital educational initiatives in a routine manner to ensure effective learning. The teachers even interact with parents and students individually via Whatsapp and Google Duos to provide technical support and clear doubts. They even conduct PTM every month on regular basis on virtual platforms.

Ebooks…

While online classes were in full swing, we realized, the lack of books had become an impediment to the students. To overcome this, we urged the publishers to provide e-books to all students. To this, S. Chand gladly agreed, which enabled the students to consult the textbooks while taking online classes from their respective teachers. We understood that younger students of Pre-Primary and Primary would find it difficult to read e-texts, hence provided additional study materials based on Extramarks App and interactive websites like Pschool.in that the students would find engaging and fun.

Teachers are continuously preparing digital content and videos on relevant topics and sharing with the students via ERP softwares and even popular social media. They are also making effective use of digital educational initiatives in a routine manner to ensure effective learning.

Print books delivered home…

As we realized, e-books can never be substitutes but supplements, we urged our vendors and through the help and cooperation of our parents we were also able to deliver the books and exercise books to our students. After achieving the right balance between ‘chalk & talk’ and ‘click & navigate,’ the next challenge was to achieve the right mix of instructor led learning & self-learning. Being aware of the various issues with the Zoom App, we shifted to Google Meet.

Co-scholastic activities…

However, a school is not merely the place for the academic development of the students, it is also centre for developing co-scholastic activities and a training ground in appreciating culture and heritage. We therefore introduced Co-scholastic classes for the students in the evenings, which cater to different interests of the students, from Art and Craft to Dance, from Karate, Freehand exercises, Yoga to Foreign Languages. Being associated with the FitIndia Movement we encouraged the students to remain healthy by including exercises and sports as their daily habit. It is indeed difficult to run co-scholastic classes virtually we are glad that at least this platform has given us interrupted connection with the students. More importantly the role of parents too has increased manifold especially in monitoring the young children and supervising them during the use of electronic weblinks and pages.

Sessions for parents…

Realizing the challenges and anxiety in the parents’ lives, we tried to reach out, and help them destress and engage their time in a more fruitful way by starting with Yoga and Spoken English sessions for Parents as well. We have also started with our ‘Khulke Jio’ sessions inculcating Life Skills and Stress Management training for both students and parents which is ‘the need of the hour’.

The teachers even interact with parents and students individually via Whatsapp and Google Duos to provide technical support and clear doubts. They even conduct PTM every month on regular basis on virtual platforms.

Fund-raising for the needy…

We encouraged our parents and students to try and make as much contribution as is possible from their end to ensure the safety and well-being of all fellow citizens during this crisis. In fact, all our teachers and staff voluntarily raised fund together to contribute to the West Bengal State Emergency Relief Fund to play our part in the fight the pandemic.

Online celebrations too…

We also tried to ensure students don’t get completely detached with the feeling of togetherness and to understand the significance of several culturally and historically significant days we have observed several celebrations like Earth Day, Rabindranath Tagore Jayanti, International Mother’s Day, Eid-ul-Fitr, poet Kazi Nazrul Islam Jayanti, Father’s Day, Camera Day and many more on the virtual platform. The school celebrated the completion of 50 Days of Online Classes with fun and fiesta while acknowledging each-others efforts and contribution. Interestingly, the day coincided with the International Day of Families and gave a suitable opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of the parents and the extended families of the students in their holistic development, something that has escalated even more during the crisis period.

The focus on alternative educational experience…

We are dedicating our entire time planning to gradually shift to an alternative educational experience – focusing more on skill, competence, and effort than on marks, grades and percentiles. We are trying to introduce simple assignments through celebration of certain events and culturally important days or organize a Mock Parliament to recognize International Day of Parliamentarism that will not only help students appreciate our rich cultural heritage, but also ensure they widen their horizon by their research work, assimilate information instead of simply accommodating them temporarily by rote-learning, develop finer aesthetic sense, learn to express themselves better, honing their speaking, writing skills, integrate art in their work, yet enjoy and get a sense of accomplishment.

The students were also encouraged to participate at various competitions both at Regional as well as National levels. They participated in the Student Innovation Challenge and have submitted their projects on the themes of Space Technology, New and Innovative Ideas and Solutions for Social Distancing for COVID -19. Students enthusiastically participated and received appreciation in different other competitions like Brick Maths, Phoenix Science Club competition, Google Code To Learn Contest, Zee Mind wars, Dance competition and Kids Fashion show.

It’s a learning experience…

The school closures due to COVID-19 and the other related challenges have been a huge learning experience for us. It has taught us humility, self-doubt, and not to be content with our efforts. It has made us believe that no matter what we have done, we need to do even better to reach out, to help, to ensure our students never stop learning. The determination to ensure that our students’ lives are not disrupted or irreparably affected by the consequences of this global crisis motivates us each moment to innovate and implement newer initiatives as we move ahead with our virtual assessment plans.

Dr. Sankar Prasad Dutta is Principal at Krishnagar Public School. He has been a teacher for nearly 3 decades and has a passion for writing and researching on new ideas and knowledge and has penned more than 10 textbooks, 10 handbooks and 10 test papers on different subjects and presented several papers in various seminars held by different Universities.

Dr. Dutta is an effective Resource Person and conducted more than 50 workshops both offline and online for CBSE Capacity Building Programmes and for several Private Training organizations as well.

Dr. Dutta received the prestigious ‘Best Teacher/Principal of the Year Award’ 2018 by CBSE from MHRD in addition to the ‘Best Vice-Principal of the Year Award’ at International Education and Symposium Award and the ‘National Education Leadership Award’ from private organizations.