In times when schools and colleges are struggling to keep up with changing scenarios, Firayalal Public School, Ranchi is setting a precedent for its contemporaries.
GYV met the principal of Firayalal Public School (FPS), Neeraj Kumar Sinha and discussed upon the evolution of the education system during a pandemic. Sinha, who is also a science lover, explains everything through a scientific lens. His passion for Physics is apparent when all his answers are supplemented by an example from this subject. Holding an experience of over 30 years in the education sector, Sinha has worked in Ranchi, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh as a Principal.
Talking about his experience as a teacher and Principal in his hometown, Sinha said, “It is very difficult to manage the role of an administrator in your own hometown. I started as a teacher of physics in Ranchi over 30 years ago. And after serving in different schools and states, I today focus on the role as a leader of a school in my own hometown.”
Gap between students and Principal should be minimized
Emphasizing on need of discussion with teammates and students, Sinha said that it is important to talk to students and minimize the gap between a Principal and students.
“My role as a principal does not restrict me from doing what I love the most, teaching. Time to time I interact with my students even during online classes and take a few sessions of physics”, he said.
His scientific temperament is helping the school cope up with the shockers of COVID-19. His research-oriented study module, combined with striking the right chord between parents and teachers has helped students and schools keep up with the changing times.
It’s been more than 3 months since the school is closed. The administration and teachers initially decided on preparing a weekly study material which was based on in-depth research and various sources. Expecting the situation to improve by sooner, it was in April they realized the gravity of the situation and that it wouldn’t normalize anytime soon.
Neeraj then started to research the various online class applications in order to resume classes. After thorough research, Sinha decided better off the Zoom app for multiple reasons. It was then decided to re-start classes on AVAYA, an online class portal as it has no time constraints. The school then conducted workshops for teachers to get accustomed to the technology. Once the classes started, within 7-8 days students got familiar with the application and its usage.
The school is also providing all study module to help students.
“We have added the CBSE module, teachers’ notes and the best YouTube video link available for each specific topic. The school has so far provided 9 such study modules which were prepared from the 1st week of lockdown. Our aim is to ensure a research-based reading material for students.”
“85% attendance is mandatory even in online classes”
Neeraj also talked about the problems of online classes. To ensure that the classroom links were not distributed among outsiders, Neeraj took the help of Google classrooms. Now each student presents their attendance with 1 registered e-mail id. Combating the issue of bunking classes, 85% attendance is now deemed mandatory. Further, teachers are suggested to randomly interact with students on a random basis to check if students aren’t sleeping with their mics and cameras off. The school has given students a monsoon break before their open book examination.
“What came to my notice as a common problem was the issue of students bunking online classes. To resolve this, we decided on mandating attendance to appear for examinations. This however led to the issue of students being in-attentive during the classes. They would either go back to sleeping or would not be around the screen after turning off the microphones and cameras. I suggested my teachers make it an interaction-based class. They now randomly pick students during the class and ask them to join in the discussion. This helps in keeping the students involved and also enables a check on the students”, Sinha said.
Yoga in the morning assembly now
Balancing between scholastic and co-scholastic to keep a check on student’s mental well being, the school now starts with a 30 minute Prayer, Assembly, or Yoga class alternatively. Neeraj has also instructed teachers to encourage students for Yoga and exercise. He holds a weekly interaction with parents to hold better communication with their wards. Sinha emphasizes on strengthening student-teacher and student-parents relationship. He wants parents to spend more time with their children.
Apart from making the online classes similar to the usual one, morning assembly is also being organized and there is also a plan to introduce Yoga and PT too. Talking about the online classes management and introduction of Yoga, Sinha said, “There are 2 teachers present in each online class. One teaches the class, and the other moderates the session. Our Co-scholastic teachers have also been involved with the online classes. Recently, we have started focusing on encouraging students to practice a healthy and active lifestyle. Our Yoga and PT teachers are keeping up to involve students in physical activities and training despite the lockdown.”
Message to his students
Looking at the Pandemic, in Sinha’s opinion imparting knowledge should be the motive of schools. He looks at the positive aspect of the pandemic and how it is making Indian masses technologically advanced. He suggests his students to see the positive side of lockdown and enjoy studies.
He said, “We can use this opportunity to see how it is going to reduce the burden of conducting classes in adverse weather conditions. Teachers, parents, and students are all getting trained for a more technologically advanced system of education.”
“If we look at this pandemic, it certainly has transformed the education system, and for the better. Now application/quality based education would be prioritized over quantity. Imparting knowledge should become the serving attitude of schools”, he added.