The Delhi government is brainstorming on how early schools here can be reopened and the future strategy to resume classroom studies will depend on when a COVID-19 vaccine is available to the public after frontline workers are inoculated, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Wednesday. Schools in the national capital are closed since March last year in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. While a few states have partially reopened schools, the Delhi government had announced that schools will not reopen till a vaccine is available.
“Brainstorming is on for how early schools can be reopened in Delhi, especially for board classes as the dates for exams have already been announced,” Sisodia, who also holds the education portfolio, said while addressing a press conference. He also said that “our future strategy (on reopening schools) will depend on how early a COVID-19 vaccine is available for public after frontline workers are vaccinated”.
Sisodia announced that the Delhi government is organising an international education conference from January 11 to 17 on how should the education sector be in a post-COVID world. “We need to plan about our schools in a post-COVID era, just as we are planning about the COVID-19 vaccination. For this, we are organising an international conference where 22 education experts from India, Finland, England, Germany, Singapore, Canada and Singapore will join panel discussions on different themes of school education,” he said.
The coronavirus pandemic has created an unprecedented situation for children. Therefore, schooling and learning in a post-COVID era cannot be business as usual, Sisodia said, adding that the Delhi government is organising the conference to also brainstorm on future of school education. The conference will reflect on Delhi’s education reforms, learn from global best practices and explore the possibilities of collaboration with other stakeholders as a way forward.
“The seven-day long conference has three components. The conference would start where an independent study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) on the process and achievements of Delhis education reform over the last five years will be released. This will set the context of the conference, Sisodia said. “This will be followed by a keynote address by Lucy Crehan, author of ‘The Cleverlands’ a global bestseller capturing the details of the five top performing education systems of the world,” he said. Between January 12 to 16, there would be a daily two-hour long online panel discussion involving experts from India and six other countries on five different themes related to curriculum, pedagogy, governance and other important issues related to children’s learning, teachers professional development and motivation and school management, the deputy chief minister said.
Lant Pritchett, former professor at Harvard Kennedy Schools who is now with Oxford University, Sebastian Suggate, senior lecturer in education at the University of Regensburg, Germany, Rukmini Banerji CEO Pratham, Yamini Aiyar, CEO Centre for Policy Research, Vimala Ramachandran, renowned educationist, Vinita Kaul, expert in early childhood education, are among the 22 experts who will attend the conference.