Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)

Alethea utilizes new era digital teaching methods for continuous education amidst challenges of COVID-19


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 selfstudy 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 PreGrade 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:

 ??  ?? Alethea School Premises
Alethea School Premises
 ??  ?? Anitra Perera, Managing Director/ Coordinati­ng Principal, Alethea Group of Schools
Anitra Perera, Managing Director/ Coordinati­ng Principal, Alethea Group of Schools

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