Focus on students who are still out of contact with online learning, DoE tells govt schools, district officials

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The Directorate of Education (DoE) has asked district education officers and principals of all government schools to focus on students who are not attending online classes and are out of touch with their teachers and lessons ever since physical classes were suspended in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to an education department official, who requested anonymity, at least 5.5% of the 15.5 lakh students in government schools are completely out of contact with their teachers and are not attached to virtual learning in any manner.

Since the outbreak of the pandemic, schools across Delhi are conducting classes online, and sending links for study materials via WhatsApp and emails and as text messages.

According to the minutes of a DoE coordination committee meeting held on October 1, DoE director Udit Prakash asked all district education officers to focus on students who are not reverting to WhatsApp communications with respect to online classes. The district education officers also held several meetings with heads of government schools over the past few weeks asking them to step up measures to trace students who are totally out of touch with teachers and online classes. One such meeting was held in district north-west-B on Monday.

Keeping in mind that not all have access to gadgets and internet connectivity, government schools have also started giving out hard copies of assignment sheets to students — these are collected from school once every week. However, despite all efforts, several schools said some students could not be reached either on phone or via SMS and WhatsApp.

The senior official from the education department, quoted above, said of the 15-lakh odd students in government schools, 89% are in contact with teachers over phone or WhatsApp. About 5.5% are students who collect hard copies of assignments from schools as they do not have internet connectivity/devices. The remaining 5.5%, the official said, are completely out of contact with teachers and not in any way attached to virtual learning.

“Even of the 89% that are connected via WhatsApp or phone, only 70% are responding to teachers’ directions and submitting their worksheets online. The remaining 11% are receiving messages and calls but not participating in the online education. The DoE has directed all schools to step up measures to engage all students in virtual education. Schools have also been asked to make more effort to trace out-of-contact students,” the official said.

On August 30, HT had reported that several government schools are making extra efforts to reach out to such students. Besides, sending letters and assignments to their postal addresses, school officials are making door-to-door visits in residential areas and resorting to loudspeaker announcements.

Awadhesh Kumar Jha, principal of Sarvodaya Co-ed Vidyalaya in Rohini’s Sector 8, said 60 to 65 of his students were still out of contact. “We have sent out staff to the postal addresses of these students and also sent letters to their permanent addresses in Bihar, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. But 60 to 65 students are still untraceable,” he said.

Officials said a majority of out-of-contact students are those who have left for their home states after their parents lost their jobs to the lockdown. Harpreet Kaur, principal of Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya (SKV) in Tilak Nagar, said that around 26 of her students, enrolled in classes 6 to 8, continued to remain out of touch.

“All of them are not living at the addresses mentioned in school records. Their phone numbers are either not working or have changed,” she said. The schools managed to trace some students who were missing online classes by forming area-wise teams comprising support staff and the school management committee (SMC) members.

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