With schools and universities staring at a more protracted shutdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked the HRD Ministry to roll out a common learning platform for students of Class I up to postgraduation, The Sunday Express has learned.
According to ministry sources, schools and higher education institutions are likely to remain closed until June end. India had announced a countrywide classroom shutdown on March 16 as one of the measures to contain the outbreak. Chief Ministers of most states who attended a meeting with the Prime Minister on Saturday were in favour of extending the nationwide lockdown beyond April 14. According to sources, whenever the lockdown is lifted, it will be done in phases, and educational institutions will be among the last to reopen. Hence, online learning will replace brick-and-mortar classes for a couple of months at least. The HRD Ministry has a week to launch the platform.
“All higher education institutions have been asked to consult stakeholders and pitch in their ideas. Meetings to discuss these ideas will be held starting Monday,” said a ministry official, who did not wish to be identified. It’s against the backdrop of the PM’s order that the HRD Ministry on Friday sought public feedback on ways to make online learning more effective.
Currently, there is an institutional push for online learning during the shutdown, but the government’s resource are scattered across different platforms such as Swayam (India’s MOOC platform), Swayam Prabha (DTH educational channels) and National Digital Library, among others.
“The outbreak had led to a novel experiment in the largest online learning exercise ever…we will have to keep a lot of things in mind since not all students can access online resources,” said the director of an IISER.
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