CHENNAI: Worried that their children may not be able to cope up with the new lessons once they are promoted to higher classes, several parents have written to officials at the education department, requesting them to declare the previous academic year as “zero year” so students can repeat the year instead.
“My child has hardly learned anything last year and is struggling to remember the basics. If he is moved to the next class, he will have a hard time,” said the parent of a Class VI student at a private school in the city. Students, especially slow learners, require special attention to learn basic concepts which are not easy to grasp through online classes. “Unlike earlier, there are no special classes or study groups,” said another parent.
However, school education department director S Kannappan said, “We haven’t received orders from the government on this matter, and are yet to discuss.”
In the meantime, schools have come up with ways to help students learn all lost concepts, once classes resume. SAN Academy, for instance, is offering a ‘bridge course’ in maths, and science, said principal Ganga Natarajan. Mita Venkatesh, principal of Sankara Senior Secondary School, said they plan to devote April to completing allleft-out portions and teach basic concepts of all subjects from last year.
Government schools, however, seem undecided on how to go about re-teaching the basics. A teacher from the Government Primary and High School in Puzhal said they had requested authorities to provide two extra months in the new academic year to teach last year’s portions. P K Ilamaran, president of the Tamil Nadu Teacher’s Association, said declaring a ‘zero year’ would hamper the child’s education and career prospects. “It would collapse the entire structure,” he said.