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Hybrid mode of learning emerges as most effective solution in these tough Covid times

By Dr. Praveen Gupta,

Hybrid mode, which combines the best of two worlds, a physical school and the safe home environment.

We are leaving no stones unturned to make hybrid learning a success at our school., writes principal Dr. Praveen Gupta.

The Covid-19 pandemic hit India last year upending lives and livelihoods. Apart from causing immeasurable loss of life and immense suffering, the pandemic affected all sectors of the economy, including education, the bedrock of a country’s future and its progress.

As the tragedy unfolded and the country went into lockdown to save lives, people struggled to comprehend the new normal of life in the confines of their homes. One of the hardest hit were the children, who suddenly found themselves unable to go to schools, or outside their homes to play or interact with friends, peers. Their intellectual and physical development came to a grinding halt.

Although taken by surprise initially, the schools, including ours, hit the ground running and were quick to start with online classes, which despite being a new concept, found widespread acceptance among the children and their parents.

Online classes brought a measure of normalcy into the lives of students, who were left trapped at home. They tried to minimise the loss to their education and cerebral growth. That said, however, the online mode cannot be regarded as a substitute or a permanent replacement for physical schools, which, with their teachers, students and a vibrant atmosphere are indispensable for the overall growth and all-round development of children.It is already more than one-and-a-half years since the pandemic struck and still not clear when humankind will finally be rid of this scourge completely.

However, as the situation improves (the number of daily cases and fatalities in India are lower than what was earlier reported), albeit very slowly, it is time we started to gradually bring the education system back on track, reopening schools and returning to life, as it was towards the end of 2019 or early 2020. But there is a caveat. Since the pandemic is still not over, we need to ensure that students’ safety remains our primary concern and all steps towards normalcy are well thought-out and baby steps.

As schools prepare for a potential return to the classroom, the hybrid mode of teaching-learning presents itself as the most effective solution in these troubled times.

This mode, which combines the best of two worlds, a physical school and the safe environment of a home, includes online as well as offline classes. This mode of education, widely known as hybrid learning, is fast gaining currency and is being adopted by many schools, including ours. This mode of learning can also be regarded as an intermediate stage, between purely online and offline modes, and a precursor to regular classes once the situation returns to normal. In view of the importance of bringing much needed stability and normalcy to students’ lives and assuaging parents’ concerns, we at Rukmini Devi Public School, Sonipat, have rolled out the hybrid mode of learning to cater to students craving the familiar and vibrant environment of a physical school and to those, who are still not very comfortable in venturing outside the safe environs of their homes.

We respect both the categories of students and despite the challenges, we are willing to work towards making our students good and contributing citizens of the country

We are leaving no stones unturned to make hybrid learning a success at our school. Apart from having a good wi-fi, the backbone of any hybrid learning effort, we have installed web-cams in our classrooms. We have also ensured that our systems work flawlessly so that students’ learning process continues smoothly. In order to provide a feel of actual classrooms, we have also fitted projectors in the rooms.

These projectors allow students to feel they are sitting in a regular classroom with their friends close by. With some students already back at the school, the missing colour and bustle have returned to the school building.

The playground, which had been left lifeless for more than one-and-a-half-years, has once again become home to happy, active children as they run around or chat with their friends and classmates with sparkling eyes and happy smiles.

These are the smiles that we at Rukmini Devi Public School, Sonipatlive and work for. It is the hope in these happy faces and smiles that encourages and inspires us to ensure that we stop at nothing to make our school a safe and interesting place in these troubled times.

The smiling, cheerful faces of our students and their enthusiasm give us confidence that the day is not far when our corridors and our classrooms will once again echo with their laughter and excited chatter and our vacant playgrounds will once again see crowds of healthy, active children doing what they are best at i.e. being children. We look forward to continuing support and cooperation from parents to overcome this difficult phase and assure them of our best efforts in making them proud of their children.

While we make earnest efforts to provide a safe and secure learning environment for students, we request parents to make sure that their wards also take protection seriously. The children should be made aware of the importance of wearing masks, washing hands regularly and maintaining a distance of 6 feet from their peers. They should also be encouraged to maintain general hygiene, along with regular exercise and a nutritious diet to keep their immune system in good health.

In conclusion, we would like to underline that the hybrid mode of learning will only prove to be a temporary arrangement. We are confident that the ongoing crisis will come to an early end. We are sure that clouds of despair will give way to sunshine and students will return to regular classes in the near future.

Dr. Praveen Gupta, Principal, Rukmini Devi Public School, Sonipat. Views expressed are personal.