Connecting with students is proving to be difficult as teachers struggle with network issues and lack of access.
Delhi: Attendance in online Physical Education classes in Delhi Government Schools has started to improve in September as restrictions on movement across States were lifted. Students who had gone to their villages after the lockdown have started coming back to the city. Kulvinder Singh, a P.E. teacher in Govt Boys Senior Secondary School, Chirag Delhi, said that the situation has now improved enough that 45 out of 60 students can connect to the Zoom classes on an average.
“Many students had left for their villages with their parents, so getting in touch became very difficult in the beginning,” said Singh. He said that most of their students come from economically weaker backgrounds and the phone numbers mostly belonged to the parents. It caused issues of coordination with students as parents used to take the phones with them to work. It had kept the attendance low for many months. However, slowly parents began to leave the phones with their children.
Nandini Rawat, trainer in Physical Education at Seth Anandram Jaipuria School Vasundhara, Ghaziabad, said that it is easier to make students understand concepts with the help of 3D models and videos. She said, “It is only a matter of adaptation of the digital way of teaching.” She said that in her experience, people working in the Government sector resist change, which makes online teaching difficult.
In September, the Delhi Government conducted a physical literacy programme for its P.E. teachers in association with the Mumbai-based ELMS Sports Foundation. Pankaj Markandey, Vice President of Business Development and Communication of ELMS Sports Foundation, said that the programme intended to work with the P.E. teachers to share knowledge sets that enabled them to deliver quality P.E. education on the ground. Markandey also acknowledged that challenges come with online training. They had to translate knowledge into a set of online programmes that can be easily absorbed by the teachers. He said that despite the challenges, there was no better medium to share the knowledge with thousands of teachers. “Sometimes organizing physical meetings with so many teachers takes a lot of time, effort, and resources. This has been beneficial to us,” added Markandey.
Pratik Puri is the Founder of the Rights to Sports organization that works with schools to develop physical literacy and sports infrastructure. He said that their organization is primarily working with private schools. Government schools, even in urban areas, are not open to sports. While he initially thought that online classes were good, he soon realized that they were not applicable when it came to developing the skills of the children. He said, “Until and unless schools open, I don’t see sports teaching taking a turn.”
Students from different schools shared different experiences in learning physical education. One of the common threads was that they were learning Yoga. A student of ninth grade from Kendra Vidyalaya, R.K. Puram, said that they have Yoga classes every morning and they have to keep a record of how many kilometers they run through a mobile App. Another ninth-grade student from St. George School said that their teacher used the Television as a medium to teach various asanas (yoga positions). Two students who were below sixth grade said that they had yoga classes once a week. A parent whose son studies in Delhi Public School, Greater Faridabad, said that she has to move things around in the living room to make space for the yoga classes.
There are 1026 schools under the management of the Directorate of Education (DOE), according to the Unified District Information System for Education. The Economic Survey of Delhi, 2019-2020, reported that over 14 lakh students had been enrolled in schools run by the Delhi Government. A total of 1693 PE teachers from Delhi Government schools trained in the physical literacy programme, according to the ELMS Sports Foundation.