Gone are the days when Schools were considered NPO’s (Not-for-Profit Organizations). If we exclude, Affordable Schools, Public Schools, etc., most of the Commercial Schools are money-making, profitable businesses. And all the businesses are expected to have a contingency plan or Business Continuity Plan which outlays the blueprint to safeguard “Going Concern” during a crisis. And thanks to these plans that businesses are thriving and surviving during these tough times as well.
But the question over here is– “Why don’t schools have BCP at place?”. Aren’t they scared of the uncertain environment?
The announcement of Lockdown in March led all these profitable businesses to fell flat on their faces. Their preparedness was negligible. What could have gone right if the Schools had one such plan for their rescue –
• It was easier for them to conduct open book exams, etc. through online mode. (except for Board exams). Lockdown in march hampered the Annual Exams of most of the schools. A well-designed Open book exam through online mode would have helped with the evaluation and session restart.
• Teachers across the country have tried their best to get acquaint of the various online platforms as soon as possible. They were quite resilient in embracing the new normal. However, the challenges faced by Teachers/facilitator show the Schools’ seriousness in training the Teachers. If schools had a plan, teachers’ training would have started earlier.
• Pre-COVID, only the high-end expensive schools were using some ERP and Learning Management Systems. It took time for most of them to have one LMS platform, to begin with. The concerns were mostly around the per-student cost, whether the current fee structure is enough to cover that cost, adequate infrastructure (laptops, Tablets, Smartphones, Connectivity) etc. These would have addressed at much early stage.
• Having a BCP converts the contingency into expectation. Routine mock runs help in change management as well. But not possessing one, simply means having blind-spot for uncertainty. Thus, in such cases, change management becomes difficult.
• The much critical issue than disrupted education was, panic among Parents & Students. A confident, well inform school with a plan in hand would have provided enough comfort to Parents. But most of the schools were unable to cope with it. The outcome was enraged Parents and Overdue fees.
In a nutshell, the current chaos was controllable to a certain extent with little preparation from Schools’ side. We understand the applicability of “Easy to say, but hard to do” here. But that shouldn’t be cited as an excuse to escape. Going forward, any organization whether For-Profit or NPO should have such plans in hand. I hope this pandemic proves to be a great lesson for all organizations. Because one thing is for sure – Uncertainty is the only certainty!