by Placida deSequeira Nazareth for BISMumbai

The new scholastic year 2020 - 2021 brought in many challenges to all the educational institutions across the globe and with the new policy directives as framework, all educational institutions are transitioning into the 'new normal'. The St. Joseph's Wadala School Management team is with farsightedness, exploring various avenues to cater to the students in this pandemic situation. Principal and Headmistress Sangita Bhattacharya, channelizing the expertise of alumnus Atul Gawand, managed to get the major sections of the school (Class III to Class X) on board with Microsoft Teams much before the beginning of the academic year.

The extra classes for Class X conducted online via Zoom during the month of April 2020 helped the Management understand the many glitches the school might face, if they had to settle for the same mode to cater to the entire school, and hence something more reliable was sought from the month of April 2020. Microsoft Teams turned out to be the saviour for the school, meeting all the parameters of safety, flexibility and reliability. The teachers went through the entire training module during the month of May, which enabled the smooth beginning of the school in the new normal conditions.

A survey via Google form was done to gauge the progress level around the key areas namely performance, problems faced, attendance, fees paid willingly and satisfaction level. Around 742 subjects participated in the survey. The results are as follows:

a. Rating of the teaching and online classes

Fair - 0%; Good - 19.8%; Very Good - 24.1%; Excellent - 33.7%; Outstanding - 18.9%

b. Technical Problem

No Problem - 21.4%; Occasional problem - 31.5%; Few Issues - 40.6%; Bad - 6.5

c. Attendance

100 Percent - 62%; 95 Percent - 20.8%; Others - 11.2%

d. Supporting the Educational venture by paying fees willingly

Yes - 60.4%; No - 39.6%

e. Satisfaction of the parents and the students

Yes - 93%; No - 7%

The statistics state that the online classes via Microsoft Teams is well appreciated by the parents and the students. The proficiency of the teachers using Microsoft Teams over the last month has made progress in leap and bounds. Rector's conference, Weekly assembly broadcast with the theme 'Re-energizing the Earth', Religion classes, Emotional workshop, Elocution Competition, Sets course, Bridge course, Physical Training classes, Sports coaching, Independence Day preparation, etc have already become part of the new normal.

A survey was also done to understand the mind of the parents of the preschoolers and beginners from the Jr. Kg to Std II respectively, about their willingness to have online classes, mode of the classes and the review of the child. There were around 322 subjects who participated in the survey. 87% of the parents felt that online classes via Zoom was preferable and a monthly review of the child would be ideal. 59.6% have willingly come forward to pay the fees to help the Management carry on the Educational activities for the betterment of their children.

A special word of thanks to the Management team headed by Fr. James Nigrel, for orienting and guiding the Institute to reach greater heights. Despite all the vicissitudes of the pandemic, St. Joseph High School, Wadala continues to be a harbinger of the new normal in the field of education.