The Pak Alliance for Maths and Science and Zindagi Trust have suggested the government to establish a mental health support programme to guide teachers as to how to re-engage students after a gap of six to nine months.
According to a press release, the suggestions by the two organisations are based on recommendations of government school teachers across Pakistan.
The two organisations also suggested that the education departments needed to set up clear and ready-to-progress criteria for each subject/grade; provide tools for a formative assessment of students when schools reopen and change the rules for utilisation of the non-salary operational budgets, and increase funding to allow schools to cope with their specific needs etc.
The Pak Alliance for Maths and Science and Zindagi Trust collaborated to reach out to, and document recommendations of, government school teachers across Pakistan.
According to the two organisations, the intent was to ensure that the voice of those who are expected to deliver inside the classroom need to have their voice heard.
Once SOPs are put in place and schools reopen, it will be these government school teachers responsible for managing the students’ mental health, assessing their learning levels, and planning for in-class instruction.
The purpose behind compiling this report is to inform the debate around school reopening, and most importantly, the short- and medium-term measures that need to be put in place based on the teachers’ recommendations.
The Pakistani teachers’ recommendations cover a wide-range of challenges, including ways to address the potential learning loss, mitigating students’ drop-out, using technology-based solutions, engaging parents and communities, and an adjustment in the academic calendar.
The report highlights a consensus among the government teachers for the need of strong mental health support to be in place when schools and other educational institutions reopen.
Teachers feel that the varying challenges faced by students, parents and teachers during the extended school closure need to be addressed, with teachers provided the required support to enable them to offer counselling services.
One in every five government primary schools in Pakistan operates with one teacher for all six grades.
In such cases, the provision of additional non-salary component of school financing will allow for the hiring of additional temporary teaching staff to address the learning gaps, even if a reduced syllabus is to be followed during the upcoming academic year.
A significant majority of the teachers surveyed felt that it was critical to set aside a few weeks for the revision of instructional content from the previous academic year before introducing new content in the classroom.
They stressed that with students having been away from the classroom for six to nine months, teachers would need to revise foundational skills and concepts before putting any additional burden on students to catch up to pre-COVID19 grade-level standards.
Originally published at The news international