The Swami Dayananda Matric Higher Secondary School, Manjakkudi, Tamil Nadu, was one of the first educational institution in Tiruvarur district, Tamil Nadu, to embrace the virtual classroom mode. As a precursor, the teaching staff underwent training as online was a new medium. What’s heartening is that the teachers easily adapted to the new method of teaching.
Its pertinent to note that the school routine came to a grinding halt on 22nd March 2020 when Covid-19 spread. Classes got suspended and exams were cancelled. All students up to Class 9 were given automatic promotion to the next level. Students of Class 10 were awarded promotion based on their performance in quarterly and half yearly examinations.
The online method of teaching was rolled out with the support of the school management and NEXT Education. Online classes continued right through April 2020. Holidays were declared during the first three weeks in May 2020.
Online classes for standard 10 and 12 resumed from the last week of May 2020 while classes 1-9 logged on from the first week of June 2020. Tiny tots (kindergarten section) embraced the virtual mode of learning from 15th June 2020. Classes were held on the Zoom App. “The biggest challenge posed during this period was non availability of network and gadgets (if there was another sibling studying in the same school),” Ms. Padma Raghunathan, principal, Swami Dayananda Matric Higher Secondary School, Manjakkudi, Tamil Nadu, said.
Despite the challenges, online attendance in the lower classes stood at 60% and 85% in the higher sections. To motivate students to join the online medium, school authorities gave certificates to those students who had 90% online attendance.
All this could have not been possible but for the support from an important stakeholder in the set-up, parents of the students. “We had commendable cooperation from the parents. They were highly appreciative of the efforts made by the school management in seamless conduct of online classes in a rural set up,” Ms. Raghunathan said.
During the year, online half yearly examinations were conducted for students from Classes 1 to 12. Students were asked to create a mail id for themselves and the question paper was shared with them via Whats App. Scanned copies of answer scripts were received through mail. Post evaluation, class teachers shared E-report Cards with the parents.