Education Leadership Conclave – School Education session on ‘Reopening of Schools, Redefining SOPs – A Step-by-Step guide for Implementation of the Open School Programme’

ASMA’s Education Leadership Conclave - School Education session

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The inaugural event of the ASMA’s Education Leadership ConclaveSchool Education panel on Reopening of Schools, Redefining SOPs – A Step-by-Step guide for Implementation of the Open School Programme took place on 24th September 2020.

The esteemed panel comprised of leaders from the school education sector including Dr Skand Bali, Principal, The Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet, Reekrit Serai, MD, Satluj Group of Schools, Pratima Sinha, CEO, DSR Education Society, Hyderabad and Dr Manimekalai Mohan, Founder, Managing Trustee & Correspondent; SSVM Institutions, Mettupalayam & Coimbatore.

The panel was moderated by Chandan Anand, Vice President, InnoServ Group & ASMA.

The discussion began with Dr Skand Bali, Principal, The Hyderabad Public School, Begumpet sharing his views on how his institution is preparing for the reopening of schools post-COVID.  He said, “The majority of parents do not want to send their children to school as yet or are reluctant until things unfold further. Many parents are not keen to send their children to school until any vaccine comes out”

He added, “We need to be a little careful when it comes to reopening of schools and with a little care in the months of November and December we should allow the senior schools to open from Class 9 to 12 and I don’t think we should open primary schools at all this year because the safety and wellbeing of everyone are critical. We all are a little apprehensive and at the same time careful as well”.

Reekrit Serai, MD, Satluj Group of Schools added, “We’ve been thrown into the deep end of the ocean and now we’ve been asked to swim. What we have to understand in the context of education is, we deal with the lives of students who aren’t adults yet, so as educator and school management, we have to keep our responsibility towards our students in mind”. He continued, “At this time I think no one is ready to take the risk, whether parents or schools.”

Moving the panel onto the role of innovation in redefining SOPs in the new normal, Dr Bali remarked that innovation is important everywhere, not just in the current scenario.

He added that there are some schools across the country, although not very technologically advanced, are making use of innovation and technology in the form of augmented reality to teach. He said, “Innovation is a part of education and a part of learning, irrespective of the situation and circumstances. Innovation has played a big role in the COVID crisis and it has left us with the opportunity that even when the schools become normal, there are many things that can be done virtually.”

Dr Bali added, “Reinvention, invention or creativity are all parts of the game and you have to be ahead of it and think out of the box to ensure things work better.”

Reekrit Serai said, “Innovation plays a very important role, especially in these times and we are lucky given the innovation and education we have seen in the last few years. If it were not for tools such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Meet, it would be very hard to run schools; innovation has been key”.

Sharing his thoughts on what will unfold in the next few years, Serai said, “I think in this current ecosystem, the blended approach in teaching will remain”.

Pratima Sinha, CEO, DSR Education Society, Hyderabad said “It is because of innovation, we have been able to adopt the new norms. We have seen innovation in technology whether it’s in assessments, evaluations or even the e-books, or the various tech tools teachers are using”.

She added, “There is innovation in technology, in the teaching and learning objective and innovation in the new norm of teaching methodologies; the entire curriculum setting has been innovated and created to suit online teaching”.

She concluded by saying, “Innovation has definitely given us the platform and it is because we were innovative, we were able to survive the pandemic”.

Dr Manimekalai Mohan spoke about the ways her institution, SSVM is adopting innovation in the new normal. Speaking about this she said, “SSVM has introduced an organised model of online learning where the classes are conducted in such a way that even extra-curricular classes are going on, so parents are very happy that along with the subjects, others things are also added”.

Concluding the session, the panellists shared their plans are for reopening of schools after post-COVID, with many speakers emphasizing introducing a blended and open school approach. The panellists also agreed that collaboration among corporate organisations, schools, higher education institutions and government is important.

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