26 April Kathmandu, 2020
Educational institutes around the world have shifted online with the resources available with them. Most Universities and colleges started online classes since the beginning of the lockdown. However, KMC School is one of the first schools (if not the first) to start online classes for playgroup.
KMC School is the junior wing of Kathmandu Model College, a renowned college in Nepal. It provides basic education to students from pre-school to senior level. KMC School had announced that Virtual classes would start from 10th Baisakh (April 22).
The choices of online platforms for online classes are Zoom and Messenger.
We interviewed the Principal of KMC School to get more insight. Here is how he answered our questions.
Interview with Dwarika Nath Amgain – Principal, KMC School
Q. Is it true that KMC School has started online classes for Playgroup level as well?
A: Yes absolutely!
Q. How is it working out?
A: Actually, we are finding it quite easier to conduct classes for playgroup level. The parents and teachers have maintained a very healthy relationship and cooperation. For now, we are using a messenger group to communicate with the parents and conduct live class through video calls.
In the morning shift, teachers coordinate with parents and their kids for around 1 hour during which they provide instructions and solve problems for the kids. Similarly, the teachers assign homework through messenger and the parents are responsible for the completion of the assignment. Then again, the parents and teachers communicate via messenger at 3 in the afternoon to examine the assignment.
In fact, it is the same process not just for playgroup but for the entire pre-school level (up to 1). The teachers also provide feedback and help parents to guide their kids with the assignments.
Q. What platforms are you using for students at Higher Grades?
A: The two optimal choices we have right now are Zoom and Messenger. Most teachers prefer Zoom for students above Grade 2, while some still use messenger.
Q. How are you managing the routines for all the subjects and how effective are the classes going?
A: Well, the timing is unlike how it used to be at school. However, we are managing to conduct all the subjects in a day. The students above Grade 7 study for 3 hours through live online classes. And, the ones at lower grades study for 1-2 hours depending on the topics of the subject. Technically, 3 hours is equivalent to 5-6 school periods which is like a normal school day.
The attendance is quite satisfactory. We are achieving an attendance of over 80% every day from all grades. In fact, in some classes, we get over 95% attendance. All the teachers are following the routine very well and conducting classes regularly.
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Q. Is there a future plan for KMC School to go forward with Virtual Classes?
A: Honestly, there is not a mandatory need for online classes if students are present at school. However, the familiarity with online platforms like Zoom will help teachers coordinate with the students to instruct them for exams of finishing their homework. Also, we will be able to direct our focus on students who are performing relatively weak.
Another thing is that virtual classes have given us the confidence to start regular classes without hesitation even during the crisis. It will help us to integrate IT into the school system which will strengthen the education process. For instance, no student has course books currently but the teachers are searching and providing resources from the internet.
So, I believe these online classes will help change the way we deal with academic issues. It will prepare the students, parents, and teachers to coordinate and interact more for the benefit of the students. Certainly, the education process will shift to a new and improved direction.
Q. Are you planning to get or buy software to manage daily online classes and assignments?
A: We definitely explored some options with applications and platforms for online studies. We are currently hoping to get G Suite set up but in the meantime, we didn’t want to waste any time. So, we continued with the resources that we had at the moment.
We had to go with the platforms that both teachers and parents were already used to. Although Zoom is not that efficient when it comes to running interactive classes, it is working well for now.
Q. Are Admissions still open and if yes, how can students or parents apply?
A: Yes, admissions are still open and we have limited seats up to Grade 8. Normally, we used to conduct formal entrance exams and do a background check on students before taking admissions. Currently, I am trying to get in touch with the parents that have inquired about the admissions through videoconference.
I talk with the parents and their kids to know more about the student. Finally, I approve of the admission if all guidelines are met. We understand that it might be difficult for parents to make transactions at present. So, we make sure to enroll the students in the class without delay.
Moreover, we are making an online admission form available soon which parents can find on our school website. They need to fill the form attaching documents like the child’s latest Marksheet, birth certificate, and parent’s Citizenship cards.
To make online classes a success for schools, it is extremely essential that parents show equal support. Parents need to coordinate with the teachers and help their kids solve any problems in their assignments. It is the best these educational institutes can do during the crisis and we need to support the initiative as individuals.