Carving Opportunities in Crises

Catalysing Interactions between Parents community and the School

During the first wave of Covid- 19 when the schools were getting closed – the students, parents as well as teachers were struggling to make sense of how teaching-learning will continue ..Will everyone have to move to online learning, what about the children who do not have access to mobile devices and internet connections, what about the teachers who are used to traditional methods of teaching and how to help them familiarize with tech-based teaching methods, with so many such questions looming, it became increasingly difficult to find a silver lining in between all this.  

Amidst this chaos, the Punjab State Education Department took an initiative to reach out to the parents and children themselves. The Department in collaboration with the education collective in Punjab started and ran a series of Virtual Parents Teachers meetings to build trust with the community and parents to assure them that in such times of uncertainty, the Department is still committed to the education of the children.

Virtual Parents Teachers Meeting (VPTM) emerged as an effective means to energize the connection that the Department shares with the parent community. Every VPTM saw teachers and school leaders connecting with the parent community of their respective schools where the parents shared their whereabouts, their queries and concerns and the teachers shared latest information on how the department is aiming to address those concerns. The idea was to make the interaction between parents and school staff come alive as that was one way of making sure that all stakeholders stay connected and involved in such tough times. Parents of around 21 lakhs students were connected with, to inform them about the initiatives such as online education through the television and related post work for students, to hear out their  concerns and feedback, and to appreciate the efforts that they are taking with their children and the schools  to ensure continued education.

This initiative gained a lot of success in the State and continues to be organized continuously across multiple quarters of the academic year. As critical stakeholders in the education of a child, the education system and the parent community do not interact with each other at the scale and as frequently as it might be useful. Coming together of these actors in the time of pandemic was extremely reassuring for everyone involved. This in many ways manifested the societal platform core value of catalyzing interactions, that points out how interactions between key stakeholders hold the power of addressing immediate and relevant challenges of everyone involved, and overall brings in more trust and agency in the system.

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