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We can, and we should learn - A unique context for school education

After months of being closed, schools are now being gradually opened and schools are exploring different approaches to bringing students back to classrooms. While parental consent is mandated for students to return to school, this begs the question of what meaningful choices parents may really have.

A lot of discussion has been on the sanitising of the premises, whether children should come full days, or all days and the use of masks, logistics of student arrangements, as well as the scope of the syllabus. However, the question that needs be asked now, that is more relevant than ever, is how can we rebuild the relationship that the children have with learning, and with school? While this question is relevant for all children - for all ages and across different strata of society - it assumes an urgency in the case of children who have had no access to any form of structured learning experience.

Many children who go to government and government aided schools have been out of school and deprived of any structured learning experiences for over 10 months now. The issue is not only the learning loss - with reference to what they are supposed to have learnt in schools - as it is of the deprivation at multiple levels that these children have had to face - deficiency in nutrition, loss of a safe space and the loss of an opportunity to have some semblance of normalcy in their childhood. While the more fortunate among the children have made the seamless movement into a new normal, the children from the more marginalized and vulnerable groups of society have mostly received the short end of the stick. The Vidyagama that started and stopped due to public health concerns has now been revived, and it is important to design a program for enabling these students to succeed.

Program at GHS 9th block

The GHS at 9th block Jaya Nagar is bringing class 8 students to school starting from the week of Jan 18, 2021, following the latest guidelines. The school has decided to conduct an immersive learning camp for these students, to ease their return to school as well as to show them the potential and possibilities for learning. IT for Change, along with the school, is conducting an immersive camp for 4 days during January 2021. This camp is modelled on the principles of Vidyagama, allowing learning in multiple ways in open spaces, and not focusing immediately on the traditional classroom learning of the regular syllabus.

Objectives of the program

  1. To help students get reoriented to a structured learning environment
  2. To help students appreciate the relevance of the school, to their everyday lives
  3. To create a safe space for students for them to explore and learn
  4. To prepare students to meet the academic demands of high school

An outline of the camp curriculum

The camp will combine elements of numeracy, literacy and basic life skills, with the overarching goal of getting students to become comfortable in the context of being in the school, with the various associated new routines, in terms of COVID preparedness. Addressing the questions and even anxieties children may have, especially in view id disruptions in their life out of school, will be an integral part of this camp. The theme stringing together all the activities will be one of enjoyable, relevant and meaningful learning, with activities designed for building successful learning experiences.

A tentative, day-wise agenda for the camp is described below:

Day Sessions
Day 1 An awareness of where we are and what is going on around us - preparation for COVID and more

Communicative competencies and basics of language (Kannada)

Puzzling their way to mathematics

A baseline assessment (Mathematics)

Developing board games (traditional games)

Day 2 Communicative competencies and English as a second language - story telling and vocabulary

Playing with numbers

Basics of Geometry

Fun with science with Newton's color wheel

A baseline assessment (Kannada)

Day 3 Story telling in Kannada

Working with Geometry

Puzzles and reading corners

Developing board games (traditional games)

Day 4 Communicative competencies and English as a second language - story telling and vocabulary

Playing with numbers

Reading corners


The activities in the camp have been designed to give the students an exposure to different learning paths and experiences, cutting across mathematics, science and languages. A very brief introduction to different activities is given below.

Knowing about our world now

Using the current COVID-19 pandemic as the point of focus, the objective will be to work with the children to have a conversation around their current life situations, address any questions and concerns they may have as well as provide accurate preventive health information. Students will be encouraged to draw pictures/ cartoons illustrating what they would like to know about COVID. This will be followed by a discussion by the facilitators.

Communicative competencies and basics of language


What do students and teachers feel