No formal classes but academic year not closed for students from PP to Class Six: Education Minister

They have to continue with e-Learning and assessment at the end of the year

Following the directives set by the government, the schools will remain closed for pre-primary classes to class Six. Many parents of primary school students thought that there will be no academic year 2020, and that their children will be repeating the same class in 2021.

Education Minister Jai Bir Rai said there was a mixed excitement when the nation was informed of the schools reopening only for classes X and XII in the first phase. However, he said there seems to be a misunderstanding about the primary schools not being reopened as many private school proprietors and parents thought that the academic year is cancelled this year, thinking that as by end of June all the assessment will be done and there will not be any more learning for the primary schools.

Some of the parents and students in the primary schools enquired with the ministry on whether the teaching and learning would take place from July onwards. Lyonpo Jai Bir Rai said the Prime Minister was surprised when he heard about parents, students and proprietors’ enquiries to the education ministry.

The Education Minister said that although there is no physical presence or one on one classes for primary schools’ students, however, e-Learning will take place throughout the year through the medium of television, smartphones, radio, Google Classroom, Zoom, and other social media platforms.

Lyonpo said other than using the social media platforms, the teachers will also identify the students who need extra support and help in learning, especially for children with disabilities, by personally visiting their students.

“Visiting their students will also bring in some kind of psycho-socio impact on the children and parents. The teachers will identify the students who are in trouble or are in need,” said the Education Minister.

The students of primary schools are to be assessed through an adaptive curriculum so all the students should take it seriously. Assessment as per the adaptive curriculum, which the experts have developed, will be made at the end of the year, said Lyonpo.

“So the myth of closing down of schools should not lead to misunderstanding of closing the academic year and stopping the teaching and learning process,” Lyonpo reiterated.

Lyonpo said the ministry plans to advise the proprietors of private schools and parents on the school fee structure adjustment according to the curriculum. Lyonpo said that the adaptive curriculum has 30 or 40 percentage weightage, and accordingly, the parents might have to pay the fees. Similarly, the prioritized curriculum for classes X and XII, 70 percent of the curriculum is taught, so accordingly the students will be charged.

Lyonpo said the ministry’s aim is to keep all the students engaged, and the initiative of e-Learning is to keep the continuity of whatever the students have learned.

“COVID-19 pandemic has brought in the need for applied education. Everyone should come together and put in their efforts. During such trying times, every individual should come up and support one another. Students should show self-leadership and cooperation,” Lyonpo added.

Lyonpo also expressed his gratitude towards the parents who have been supportive so far. He said the COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone, especially the parents who are already financially unstable. Lyonpo also pointed out that all the parents are not educated and all the children are not equally economically competent. Parents have had to bear an additional financial pressure with children staying at home to learn using e-Learning gadgets. Parents’ presence at home is very important if the effective teaching and learning has to happen, Lyonpo added.

The government is not able to solve every problem, Lyonpo said, and further added that despite the many challenges, all the parents have to make some temporary adjustment for half a year or so, and work as a team.

He said the biggest concern is to guide and keep the children meaningfully engaged so they do not divert their attention into some destructive act or conduct.

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