The Government imposed quarantine and the challenges therewith, affected the overall continuity of curriculum driven education amongst many state and private education institutions in Sri Lanka. Despite the challenges of the situation, Alethea School and Alethea International school, was already equipped to continue the teaching and learning process, as the organisation had already anchored on a technology driven new era education framework since 2019.
The school’s commitment towards technology driven new age education and the management’s ability to foresee the much required new age educational methodologies were discussed and commended at several educational panel discussions. Anitra Perera, Managing Director/Coordinating Principal was a panelist at ‘Redefining Classroom’ organised by Chokolaate Magazine. Buddhika Pathiraja, Principal of Alethea International school was a panelist at ‘Will the way our kids learn CHANGE after covid?’ hosted by Igniter Space and README. Anitra Perera’s futuristic educational vision was one of the key ideals for her to be awarded a spot at Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka’s 35 under 35, which rooted her for ‘Changing the education game’ while ‘striking a balance with tech’. (https://cosmomag.lk/35under35/anitra-perera/)
“As a school management that has well understood the ideology that education and learning is a pursuit that should not be abandoned how excruciating the circumstances are. As vanguards of new age education, Alethea took key solution measures that was multiphase, as per the escalation level of the continued pandemic situation. Thus, in retrospect I can ensure that our well planned home based study program ensures flexible learning during this straining era, while enabling or students to stay safe and secure from the ongoing quarantine protocols of the pandemic,” stated Anitra Perera, Managing Director/Coordinating Principal, Alethea Group of Schools, chronicling the school’s mechanism to face education challenges amidst COVID -19
With the government’s calling to close down schools, management of Alethea took the initiative to implement a methodically planned educational mechanism that equipped all teachers to plan ahead and corroborate towards keeping entire student body engaged, and to maintain relevant educational goals and milestones for the students who are preparing for the May/June 2020 Cambridge and Pearson Edexcel exam series. With the implement of strict lock down measures all exam oriented students were coached by their respective subject teachers through study packs sent via email. Students completed their past papers and feedback was given by the teacher by emailing back the corrected papers with feedback. Many teachers sorted out to reach out to their students through Zoom to have face to face lessons.
During the initial phase between 13th March to 8th April, the school utilized a worksheet based home study structure. Unfortunately, due to the COVID-19 situation getting progressively worse, worksheets were not physically handed over to the school for marking. As the schools were not reopened as per the original notification by the GOSL on 20th April, Alethea Management introduced the second phase of the home study plan. The lessons were well detailed, web links to images, videos, extra reading material, worked out examples and a detailed note by the teacher. This made sure that it enabled the students to cope with self-study or study with limited or zero supervision of the teacher.
“Concurrent to the home study packs designed by the teachers the school, which was already onboard with digital school concept, shifted the entire teaching learning mechanism to online mode. We used Microsoft Office 365 as our teaching learning platform as of early May and enabled more hands on studying experience to the students with a virtual classroom. Each student and teacher was provided a free Microsoft Office 365 account free of charge. We have also partnered with H-One Technologies who trained our staff and will continue to do training throughout the next few months. The students were able to interact with the teachers for explanations and clarification. With the introduction of virtual study groups on MS Teams, our academic staff were able to complete syllabus requirements,” added Perera.
In order to enable the online learning the school arranged special discounts and plans for equipment and data service for the staff and students. As such, the school joined with Softlogic for laptops and tabs that are age appropriate to be purchased on instalment basis and special discounts. The staff members who did not own laptops were granted laptops by the school authorities. In terms of data services, Alethea arranged for special rates routers from Dialog for the staff and a dedicated personal to help students and parents to activate the Teams Package as well as delivering the routers to the staff and students during curfew to their doorstep.
As such the school is conducted at the moment virtually for all grades from Pre-Grade to Grade 13 including the Skills Centre and the Learning Resource Centre, with a transparent code of conduct communicated to students, parents and teachers. The school conducts routine training for the teachers, as they are key ignitors of the teaching process.
The school plans to extended its technologically advanced teaching methodologies for the initial academic semesters of 2020/2021 school year, where the school is looking forward to conduct an online and offline hybrid module of teaching learning approach and the applications for the new school year admissions are currently being processed.
About Alethea School and Alethea International School
Established in 1927, Alethea School and Alethea International School was registered as a private company the following year. In 1954 it was registered with the Department of Examinations of Sri Lanka as a Secondary School. From 1968 onwards, the students of Alethea sat for the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level (O/L) Examinations in Sri Lanka in the Sinhala, Tamil and English mediums. Anitra Perera is the 4th generation administrator of the school founded by the Hapugalle/Perera family.
Further information: www.alethea.lk