The last month of the year – which isn’t quite past as I write this – has been something of a high-speed auto-rickshaw ride over a pot-holed country road. The month began on a somber and reflective note, remembering the gas tragedy of Bhopal, 25 years on, and the happenings in Ayodhya of 1992. And then the events in Hyderabad, which are continuing to unfold and take new turns every day, spawning copycat demands in other parts of the country. In the north-east, the turbulence continues, as it does in many pockets where insurgent groups exercise their authority by disrupting systems. One of the prime casualties of these disturbances is the education system. Educational institutions are closed at the first sign of civil unrest, ensuring that the most vulnerable (and, in the case of colleges, volatile) sections of our population are not placed at risk.
Closure of schools brings with it a variety of problems, not the least of which is a tightly planned schedule thrown completely out of gear. A one or two day bandh may be made up by working on a couple of weekends, but longer closures mean that examinations need to be postponed, the remaining days lengthened, and additional pressure put on teachers and students who are already under considerable pressure.
Disturbances in one part of the country are not necessarily taken into account by a national-level board, so teachers in central board schools need to still conform to a calendar that has been set elsewhere. Coming back from these forced breaks, they need to step up the pace and just make sure that they – and their students – complete the syllabus. How do schools and teachers manage this? How are lost days made up? How do we continue to ensure that children do not lose out on learning and on associated school experiences when they are forced to stay home for extended periods? We at Teacher Plus invite you to share your stories of coping with us, so that we can learn from each other and our network of understanding keeps growing.