State school education department has reversed its earlier ban on online learning for students of pre-primary to class II. In its guidelines for online classes released on June 15, the department had prohibited online classes up to class II, citing the ill-effects of “screen-time”.
According to the GR, released Tuesday, online classes for the pre-primary section can be conducted from Monday to Friday for 30 minutes, whereas two sessions of 30 minutes each can be conducted for classes I and II from Monday to Friday. Of the total time, 15 minutes need to be dedicated for activity-based learning and another 15-minute should include interaction with parents.
For classes III to VIII, two sessions of 45 minutes each can be conducted every day. For classes IX to XII, four sessions of 45 minutes each have been permitted.
Earlier, students of classes III to V were allowed a screen-time of one hour, classes V to VIII could be held for two hours and classes IX to XII for three hours.
Sources in the department said the decision was taken based on the guidelines released by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development. In its July 14 guidelines, the MHRD had recommended two online classes up to 45 minutes each for classes I to VIII.
While for classes IX to XII, four sessions, each of 30-45 minutes duration, have been recommended.
Uday Nare, a teacher at Hansraj Morarji Public School, said, “Free internet service for financially weak students in remote and rural areas is essential. Even today, many students are deprived of education despite the ongoing online classes. A package should be announced under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan for students in the lower strata.”
Kavita Agarwal, president of Members of International Schools Association, said, “We welcome the move of the state government. Online education is the only way forward in this pandemic. There was a lot of controversy over screen-time but children continue to play games or watch television. The parents must ensure that the screen-time is used constructively.”
Early Childhood Association president Swati Popat Vats told The Indian Express, “As we grapple with the pandemic, I’m happy as an educationist that the state government has brought in revised guidelines. But I think it’s time that all states realise that banning something won’t help students or parents.”
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