Tansen Municipality in Palpa to mobilise teachers at students’ doorsteps with no sign of school resumptionOther local governments are also planning alternative education approaches to teach children during coronavirus lockdown.
Amid uncertainty over resumption of schools due to the Covid-19 crisis, Tansen Municipality in Palpa district has decided to mobilise teachers to the doorsteps of students.
Along with those teachers already in service, the municipality is recruiting volunteers comprising retired teachers and educated locals for its home tuition plan. The volunteers will get a nominal payment for their service.
As per the plan, one teacher will reach to every student at least twice a week to guide him or her in the study.
The municipality is currently training the teachers before mobilising them from next week. Ashok Kumar Shahi, the mayor of the municipality, said as school resumption is not possible anytime soon, mobilising teachers to students’ doorsteps is the only way to engage them in the study.
“I don’t think this is adequate but students will at least get to study something,” he told the Post.
He said each teacher would go through the coronavirus testing and maintain social distancing while instructing the students. The municipality adopted the door-t0-door teaching after assessing that organising online classes was not accessible to all students. The municipality has 72 schools—52 public and 20 private—with around 10,000 students. The municipality plans to hire 30 volunteer teachers in the first phase and increase the numbers based on the output of its initiative.
After the assessment that online study is not feasible, other local governments are also planning for the door-to-door service or conducting community-level classes by forming small groups.
According to Bansa Lal Tamang, general secretary of National Rural Municipal Association of Nepal, reaching directly to the students is the only effective step for the resumption of study.
Tamang, who is a chairperson of Indrawoti Rural Municipality in Sindhupalchok district, said their survey said FM is the only electronic medium available for all the students.
However, audio medium is not effective to conduct teaching-learning activities.
“Students cannot grasp well without audio-visual medium,” he told the Post. “We will either mobilise teachers to the doorsteps of students or conduct small classes at community level.”
Tamang said while the classes cannot be run smoothly until schools were opened, it was important to keep students engaged in learning.
He said other local governments were also preparing to conduct home tuition to instruct children in their lessons.
“Over one month of the new academic session has passed. It is already late to start some activities to engage them in the learning,” said Tamang.
The academic session generally starts in mid-April every year. However, schools throughout the country have been closed for over two months now due to the coronavirus lockdown.
There are over 7 million students in 36,000 public and private schools across the country.
Education experts have also suggested that schools should start reaching out to their students to ensure their education is not hindered.
“It is not necessary that the study needs to be focused solely on the curriculum,” Binay Kusiyait, a professor at Tribhuvan University who has conducted several research in the school education, told the Post. “There are life skills which can be taught at homes.”He said online classes recommended by the Ministry of Education was not available to a majority of students as they do not have access to the internet. “Our teachers too don’t have the skills to organise online classes,” Kusiyait added.