TRYING TO SAVE THE SCHOOL YEAR IN INDIA – JAN
Although the number of cases of coronavirus has come down in India from a world high peak no state has started regular inside school classes. At our Children’s Home in Tamil Nadu and the village education program we have near it there are daily television classes. We installed a second large HD tv at the Children’s Home in the study hall/dining room at the opposite end to the first one. One grade takes a class for 2-3 hours depending on grade and a second class can start before they finish with the previous lessons. We have immediate tutoring so the children can ask questions since the teacher is virtual. The tutors watch the material as taught (math, science, English, social science) so they know the material covered and make sure our students really know it. At our village program nearby the students gather outside after the television class and our teacher stands at a distance with a mask and goes over the lessons. We can’t serve food here until Covid-19 is over, but we provide groceries to the families as needed.
In Maharashtra where we have hundreds of students, the government has not started any classes. So, we started our own classes in October hiring 10 teachers to teach three hours a day six days a week using the government curriculum. The kids play together so they sit near each other but the masked teacher is far ahead using a hanging blackboard to go over the lessons. The children even take turns on the blackboard writing math problems and language lessons. It’s close to regular school as there are not any breaks. All students in every program get any notebooks, textbooks, bookbags, and school supplies as needed.