June 5, 2020 8:04:01 pm
When schools reopen, the way classroom learning used to happen so far is going to change, HRD School Education Secretary Anita Karwal said on Friday asserting that the COVID-19 pandemic has put the focus on the quality of digital education which was postponed so far.
Noting that more than 24 crore children in the country are going to be affected, Karwal both teachers and students will have to adjust a lot in the post lockdown world.
“We are aware that whenever schools reopen there has to be the maintenance of social distancing and a lot of precautions need to be taken,” Karwal, said at a virtual conference on ‘Future of Schools: Overcoming the COVID-19 challenge and beyond’ organised by Ashoka University.
“The way learning happens in classrooms is going to change and there will be a lot of adjustments which teachers and students need to make. These adjustments are something which we cannot guarantee that it will happen in a few days, it may take more time for a few children and less time for others. This is the context in which we are functioning,” she added.
Karwal, who was the Chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) when the COVID-19 lockdown was announced in March, said, the first thing that we wanted to ensure was the mental well-being of students followed by the continuity of education be it online or offline.
When we began with the thrust on e-learning, the focus was more on access to e-learning. Technology without equity will not lead to effective learning in all our children,” she said.
“Another area of importance is the quality of digital education which we had postponed before the pandemic happened. We realised that whatever we put in the digital education universe, it has to be of the highest quality — something which is engaging, interacting, and able to communicate with the stakeholders,” she said.
Talking about the roadmap for reopening of schools, Karwal said, “We are now trying to realign the whole learning process, the pedagogy, the instructional process, the way children will be called to schools. What happens at the entry and exit points at the school, what are the changed roles of teachers…we are working on all this.”
“Firstly, we directed states to provided textbooks to children at their homes right away. Some states mentioned to us that printing is not allowed, transportation is not available, so we intervened on their behalf and requested MHA for permissions. Now almost all states have been able to send it (books) to children or are in the process of doing so,” she said.
“We came up with an alternative calendar mapping it with learning outcomes. We have also detailed in the calendar the steps if the student doesn’t have access to e-learning resources,” she added.
While the Class 12 exams will be conducted across the country, the Class 10 exams are only pending in North East Delhi. The exams could not be conducted in the national capital’s district due to the law and order situation in the wake of protests against the amended citizenship law.
Universities and schools across the country have been closed since March 16, when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as part of a slew of measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. A 21-day nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24, which came into effect the next day.
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