Teachers of two schools on the outskirts of Kolkata have introduced practical classes for small groups of students at the their homes.
St Augustine’s Day School in Barrackpore and Shyamnagar have initiated these classes where the equipment are being carried to homes to bridge the gap between online and on-campus studies, especially for students in Classes XI and XII.
The heads of the schools said that the current Class XII students have had no experience of practical classes in the past 18 months, something that is essential for when they go to college.
The two schools have created a roster and every student will attend two hours of class once a fortnight.
Parents are signing up as ‘hosts’ for five or six students to attend the class at their house.
Class XII student Srinka Ghosh said a live session helped to clarify doubts.
“When we see something in front of us, we have questions, which are not there when we see a video. In class, when there is a network issue, at times we miss some details,” said Srinka of St Augustine’s Day School, Shyamnagar.
The principal of the Barrackpore school said that video demonstrations had their limitations. “The students learn while they do the experiments and each experiment has a different result, which they observe. We are doing experiments that are safe to be conducted in home settings,” said principal Jhuma Biswas.
The Telegraph has reported how teachers across schools are concerned about the loss of practical classes because of the pandemic.
The Shyamnagar school has started the sessions and the Barrackpore school will start in October for senior classes.
“Through these classes, we are trying to cater to the gaps that remain in online classes. Science practicals become an important aspect because the senior students have not had the opportunity to step into laboratories for experiments, which is needed to understand the theory part better. The Class XII students have some months left before they move out of school,” said Janet Gasper Chowdhury, president, St Augustine’s Education Society, which runs the two schools.
Usually, for the science subjects — physics, chemistry and biology — Class XII students attend around 45-50 hours of practical classes in an academic year, which they have not been able to do during the pandemic.