The effect of corona virus is affecting the whole world today. Industry, socio-economic sector along with another important sector that is being badly affected by this virus is that of education.
Physical classes are not being conducted and online classes have been adopted as an alternative. Online classes are still effective to a large extent in larger classes or higher education, but online classes have not yet become such an effective option in smaller classes.
Be it the government, parents or any other expert, all the people are engaged in finding some way or the other. In this sequence, recently the Government of West Bengal has started a scheme named ‘Paraya Shikshalay’.
Schools opened for classes 8 to 12 across the state on 31 January in West Bengal. Whereas online classes continued to be conducted for students studying in classes smaller than that.
On this, student organizations like Students Federation of India ie SFI, West Bengal Chhatra Parishad and ABVP demonstrated on the streets demanding the opening of all classes in schools at the earliest. Apart from this, a section of doctors and parents also believe that schools should be reopened in physical form.
Actually it is a bit difficult task for young children to follow the corona protocol in physical classes. In the present scenario the seating arrangement in classrooms is such that people sit adjacent to each other.
If these classes are set up in an open ground where children can sit at a distance of 2 yards from each other and their physical contact is less, then the chances of corona infection can be reduced. Along with this, the education of the children will also go on uninterrupted.
In view of this, from 7th February, the Government of West Bengal started an open-air class room scheme for students of classes 1 to 7 named ‘Paraya Shikshalay’.
The objective of this unique initiative is to encourage those students whose schools are continuously closed due to Corona pandemic to rejoin physical classes.
Initially only classes of students of classes 1 to 5 were included under this scheme, but later it also included students of classes 6 and 7 as their physical classes were also not opened.
Students are being called in batches to these classes with open fields and at the same time arrangements have been made for mid-day meals for the children joining this scheme.
Schools which have their own park or grounds available, that is, open-air space, have started holding classes for students. Along with this, benches and blackboards have also been installed outside in these grounds.
In schools where open ground is not available, these open air classes are being conducted in nearby parks and grounds. The help of local councilors and MLAs is being taken in these parks and grounds to arrange for the basic infrastructure like arranging mid-day meals for the students and installation of temporary sheds and chairs.
A lot of enthusiasm was seen among the students on the very first day of the launch of this scheme. Around 30 to 40 students attended classes in each school at several places in Kolkata.
During this, the students were also asked to follow all the protocols related to corona such as sanitizing hands, applying masks and sitting at a distance of 2 yards from each other.