'School attendance will take time to pick up post dasara'
BENGALURU: With schools running on deficit of teachers and lack of transportation facilities, number of students in classes six to 12 are yet to see a substantial rise in offline classes.
In government schools the attendance is said to have declined. There is also a fear of the spread of virus and the fact that vaccines for the younger populace have not been administered yet. That coupled with the fact that transportation is yet to start in schools. Also, the holiday mood would take time to wither, said school sources.
A lecturer from a government-run residential school said they are sanitizing rooms every day after classes and also hostel rooms now that classes have started full swing from morning to evening. Midday meals too had started on Thursday but the teacher owed the poor attendance to the typical style of students bunking day one to complete their holiday homework. More attendance is expected from tomorrow he said.
Manju Reddy, a private school teacher said his students in classes 11 and 12 were in 100 percent attendance and term one examinations were going on. His school has seen slight hesitation from parents as well for the lower grades, but he says many parents have realized the disconnect in academia in the past year with online classes for younger students, hence are encouraged to send their wards. This is also in some cases offset by the fear of the virus or the fact that transportation is yet to resume in schools, he admitted, a challenge for both working parents.
Shashi Kumar, general secretary KAMS told TNIE that the attendance overall for private schools remained the same from pre-Dasara for classes six and above. Meanwhile, schools are and have been unable to provide hybrid mode due to lack of capabilities and hence started offline full swing. While 95 percent of class 9 and 10 students were present, the percentage dipped to 60-80 for the younger classes.
As for the situation with the teacher shortage due to several being laid off or quitting their jobs owing to pay cuts and financial burden during the pandemic, Kumar said that the crisis is widening with teachers leaving schools that pay even Rs 500 lesser than the other. There is a migration of teachers and schools are unable to manage the financial crisis.
The President of Karnataka State High School Association, H K Manjunath said that the holiday mood is holding students back and government schools across the state have seen about 60 percent attendance. The attendance is expected to bounce back in two days.
As per a source, some schools have even started classes one to five unofficially.