The growth aspect of India’s education sector has always been a matter of discussion. When the pandemic hit, the matter became more serious. In India, the closure of 1.5 million schools due to COVID-19 has impacted 247 million children enrolled in elementary and secondary schools, a UNICEF report has found. In addition, over six million girls and boys were already out of school even before the COVID-19 crisis began.
Students’ academic learning occurs principally in classrooms as students interact with teachers around the subject matter. The way schools organize and operate has a major impact on the instructional exchanges inside the classrooms.
Classroom learning depends largely upon how the school as a social context supports teaching and sustains student engagement. (Winthrop, 2022) As schools encounter new challenges after reopening, the path to growth in the post covid era looks different.
Schools have to work on various strategies to overcome the new challenges, ensure an effective teaching-learning process and also lay the steps for success with the limited resources available.
Let’s discuss 5 methods to navigate new paths for school growth.
1. Making the school environment safe
It has been 8 months since schools reopened after the long closure. While reopening the schools, the school management has to make necessary changes in the school environment to ensure student safety such as promoting good hygiene habits in the schools by ensuring hand washing facilities and providing hand sanitisers on the school premises.
Schools have to take necessary precautions such as encouraging all stakeholders to wear face masks and maintain social distancing. Studies show that there is a 60% chance of avoiding getting infected by taking necessary precautions.
Schools can arrange a regular screening of cough and fever and also help kids who are suffering from malnutrition. Last but not least, schools should provide moral support to the students to improve their motivation and mental well-being.
In India, the closure of 1.5 million schools due to COVID-19 has impacted 247 million children enrolled in elementary and secondary schools. In addition, over six million girls and boys were already out of school even before the COVID-19 crisis began.
The post-pandemic world has brought a new set of challenges for schools and teachers and it is time for them to amp up their skills. These skills can be learned through different types of training such as training the teachers and staff in the implementation of hygienic practices.
Empathetic communication is one area in which teachers need to be trained. Since post covid the importance of technology in education has increased, schools have to empower the teacher’s technical skills. Along with this, teachers should be trained and supported to handle classes post-covid, as there will be a huge learning gap among the students.
Research shows that 6.2% of Indians suffer from some kind of mental ailment and teachers are facing problems of mental anxiety and work-life balance daily. It is also crucial for schools to ensure teachers’ mental well-being.
Since post covid the importance of technology in education has increased, schools have to empower the teacher’s technical skills. Along with this, teachers should be trained and supported to handle classes post-covid, as there will be a huge learning gap among the students.
3. Strengthen school-community relationships
In many communities around the world, COVID-19 has already led to increasingly divisive family-school relationships. Schools have to reconnect with the communities to solve problems such as dropouts, admissions, fee collection, absenteeism etc. School management committees can be used to strengthen community relationships.
Recent examples of implementation of SMC can be seen in Delhi’s public school system. Initiatives like ‘Chunauti’ and ‘Mission Buniyaad’ empowered the students from the grassroots level by involving teachers and parents alike, strengthening the SMCs, increasing parent engagement and focusing on teacher professional development. By building strong school-community relationships, schools establish trust among the local communities and also increase their accountability.
Also Read: 6 strategies to increase admissions in 2022
4. Promote extracurricular activities
The past few years have been difficult for students, 4 out of 10 students have developed symptoms of depression. Because of Covid-19, problems such as communication gaps, eating disorders, and lack of motivation have become common among the students.
Schools can promote extracurricular activities such as poetry writing, painting, debates, extempore, sports etc to improve students’ social skills. Researchers have stated that students with both academic and social skills perform well in society, it is high time that schools ensure the safe implementation of various activities on campus to improve student participation.
5. Marketing strategies
India has more than 4 lakh unaided private schools which were shut down due to covid. Post covid fee collection and sustainability have become major concerns for these private schools. Schools need to rethink their marketing strategies.
For example, schools can take help from their parents to organize admission campaigns in the communities. This can help schools in curbing the problem of low parent engagement and lack of new admissions.Schools can use social media channels (WhatsApp, Facebook, Youtube etc) to communicate with parents and promote various school events.
Schools have faced numerous challenges during Covid-19 and were able to handle them effectively. However, in the post covid era, schools need to understand the new challenges and rethink strategies to address them. Schools should encourage all stakeholders to be part of growth and together they can strengthen their institution.