KHOTANG, July 8: As a record number of children and youths are unable to attend schools due to lockdown measures enforced by the government to contain possible spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), some schools in Khotang district in the eastern part of the country have decided to try a different model of teaching.
Stating that the academic calendar has already been hit hard, schools at Diprung Chuichumma Rural Municipality have made a plan to offer classes in different neighborhoods where open spaces are available. While students assemble in their own neighborhoods, teachers visit them to run classes on a rotation basis.
The decision of the rural municipality authority and the schools is expected to give some relief to panicked students and parents. “Earlier we thought that this coronavirus was a temporary problem. But it seems this is not going to go from here anytime soon,” said chairperson of the rural municipality Bhupendra Rai.
“Now in coordination with schools, we are preparing to send subject teachers to different neighborhoods and carry on with the academic courses. Since the academic calendar has already been hit hard, it is time for us to try some innovative method to cover the loss,” he added.
Even though some innovative interventions on the education sector were being discussed since a few weeks ago, the official decision to go with the new model was taken only on Tuesday. A meeting held at the rural municipality office approved the idea to run classes in the open spaces in the village in view of the health risk posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
As per the guidelines, teachers should undergo a Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) to ensure that they have not been infected by the virus by July 18. All the teachers are asked to be present at their respective schools on July 19 and prepare lesson plans in order to start running classes in different neighborhoods starting July 22. “We have tried to make it as scientific as possible,” said Rai.
The rural municipality comprises seven wards which have a total of 47 schools upto 12th grade. There are 5,512 registered students across the municipality. According to Rai, 267 teachers are going to run classes in the neighborhoods as decided by the rural municipality in coordination with the schools.
Chairperson Rai said suitable open spaces and school buildings would be used for such classes. “This is an initiative also to minimize fears among students. They have been going through a difficult psychological state of mind,” he said.