An insightful & engaging virtual session hosted by POPCORN FURNITURE
Mumbai: Popcorn Furniture, India’s largest educational furniture manufacturing company, held a webinar on ‘Problems schools are facing post-COVID-19’. The one-and-a-half-hour webinar was attended by four panelists from India and abroad.
The session was organized to discuss problems schools are facing post lockdown and the challenges the school industry faces in the opening of institutions. It covered changes in the education sector post the lockdown and a way forward in the coming months. The webinar reported the participation of around 700 attendees including teachers, principals, school owners, school trustees, consultants, architects, and media. The audience included eminent educationists from India, UAE, South Africa, Nigeria, Oman, and Qatar.
Mrs. Deepika Goyal, Founder and Director, Popcorn Furniture was the moderator. Ms. Nupur Goenka, Director, GD Goenka Group, Dr. Swati Popat Vats, President, Early Childhood Association- India, Fatema Agarkar, Director ACE Group and Andy Lyons, Director, Ignite School Dubai were the panelists for the session.
The major points discussed during the webinar were how schools will have to reorganize their infrastructure to allow social distancing, trust issues between parents and school authorities, initiatives the government could take to help the education industry, and how can they address the financial pressures schools are facing currently. All panelists agreed that schools are looking at reworking their models to a blended model of education post the lockdown. It could be a mixture of online and offline teaching. The webinar had a long Q&A session and the questions ranged from problems for preschool kids post the lockdown to parents not wanting to send children to school till vaccine comes out to schools facing financial problems during this time.
Popcorn Furniture announced Cognizance International Academy as the winner of a Rs. 30,000/- Furniture Voucher from them. Popcorn also gave the attendees of the webinar a Gift Voucher worth Rs. 10,000 on their furniture purchases over Rs 1lakh.
Mrs. Deepika Goyal, Founder and Director, Popcorn Furniture, said, “Popcorn has over 5 million students who are our happy customers. Since the essence of the brand is providing safe furniture for these children, we felt that we should put together a team of experts who could answer the queries that schools are facing presently. This would enable them to open schools safely with adequate social distancing measures post lockdown. The company has come up with a lot of products including acrylic screens which can be used as partitions between students, flexi classrooms which can be separated easily to maintain social distancing and anti-bacterial tops which have 99.9% non-porous surfaces. We have got so many appreciation mails from schools post the webinar that they were able to find solutions to a number of problems they were facing.
Ms. Nupur Goenka, Director, GD Goenka Group - The GD Goenka group has about 100 pre-schools and 65 k-12 schools across the country and universities. To prepare for re-opening we are creating detailed SOP’s with Protocols & Policies for each age group and focusing on safety, further advanced training of teachers for online education, training of parents, a blended learning model and emotional support to students through extensive counseling. Opening of schools will be done in a staggered, phased manner focusing on safety, conceptual understanding, practical and emotional wellbeing at school. The private sector in education has really stepped up and is doing a wonderful job in managing the crisis. Children are our greatest future resource. We need to consider education as an ‘essential’ service and work together to successfully bring in this new era of teaching.
Dr. Swati Popat Vats, President, Poddar Education Network and Early Childhood Association India stated, “Due to the unprecedented magnitude of its impact and the requirement of unique response strategies in terms of the transforming pedagogy, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a pertinent impact on children’s education, safety & well-being. In the present context, where digital solutions are the only means to sustain the imparting of education and a holistic engagement methodology, the digital divide is making the situation complicated and demanding. Perhaps, a new module for comprehensive development of the child in terms of education & cognitive learning needs to be developed, ushering in a new paradigm in the way learning happens in classrooms because of the various safety and social distancing norms.
Ms. Fatema Agarkar, Founder, Agarkar center of excellence, ACE – While Popcorn Furniture intended for this webinar that had a global-audience in attendance (India, UAE, South Africa & Nigeria) to be concluded in one hour when you have Swati Popat Vats, Nupur Goenka, Andy Lyons, Fatema Agarkar and Deepika Goyal in conversation, you know the discussion will be engaging and can keep going simply because of the collective ideas that emerge!
Brick N Mortar will not be threatened by this pandemic for the sheer advantages it offers families and students, but the adjustment at the moment is a priority and helps to have innovate and flexible furniture options in schools that will make the transition back to the physical world a planned and safe option.
Mr. Andy Lyons, Director, Ignite school, Dubai - The implications of COVID-19 has truly affected the education world and school will never be the same. School leaders around the world are looking at many options for the upcoming school year and we are positive there will always be some type of blended approach to learning and will look different in each school. As a school leader, my advice is to develop, build and nurture the trust of your parents. A strong parent-school relationship will make whatever approach your school implements be successful. Take care of the well-being of your teachers and staff as they are the backbone of the school and are working tirelessly during online learning. Let’s continue to collaborate as education professionals to learn from each other and do what is best for our students!