From limiting screen time to number of classes per day, HRD ministry issues guidelines for online education

In the guideline called 'Pragyata', the HRD ministry has recommended that the duration for online classes for pre-primary students should not be for more than 30 minutes

FP Staff August 10, 2020 12:00:15 IST
From limiting screen time to number of classes per day, HRD ministry issues guidelines for online education

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), Department of School Education and Literacy had announced guidelines for online classes by schools last month, recommending a cap on the duration and the number of sessions in a day for students.

In the guideline called "Pragyata", the HRD ministry has recommended that the duration for online classes for pre-primary students should not be for more than 30 minutes.

This new rule-book is a result of discussions between the ministry and respective representatives from the states and Union Territories held on 8 June, reports Indian Express.

The guidelines have been framed by the ministry, following concerns raised by parents about schools conducting online classes like regular schools, which has increased children's screen time after the COVID-19 pandemic mandated a shift from classroom teaching to online learning as schools continue to remain shut for over four months.

For classes 1 to 8, the HRD ministry has recommended two online sessions of up to 45 minutes each while for classes to 9 to 12, four sessions of 30-45 minutes duration have been recommended.

Class Recommendation
Pre Primary
On a given day for interacting with parents and guiding them, not more than 30 minutes.
Classes 1 to 12
Recommended to adopt/adapt the alternative academic calendar of NCERT at http://ncert.nic.in/aac.html
Classes 1 to 8
Online synchronous learning may be undertaken for not more than two sessions of 30-45 minutes each on the days the States/UTs decide to have online classes for primary sections
Classes 9 to 12
Online synchronous learning may be undertaken for not more than four sessions of 30-45 minutes each on the days as decided by States/UTs.

The ministry has also asked the state to “curate, develop and use digital resources and tools including Open and Free resources”.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the closure of schools and has impacted over 240 million children of the country who are enrolled in schools. Extended school closures may cause loss of learning.

"To mitigate the impact of the pandemic, schools will not only have to remodel and reimagine the way teaching and learning have happened so far but will also need to introduce a suitable method of delivering quality education through a healthy mix of schooling at home and schooling at school," said HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

He said that the guidelines have been made with a focus on online education for students who are at home.

"The guidelines have been developed from the perspective of learners, with a focus on online, blended, digital education for students who are presently at home due to the lockdown.

"These guidelines on digital education provide a roadmap or pointers for carrying forward online education to enhance the quality of education," Nishank said.

According to the new rules, teachers have been asked to limit the screen time to 30 minutes on alternative days for pre-primary and two sessions of 20-45 minutes per day for elementary and four sessions of 30-45 minutes for secondary and higher secondary level students.

The guidelines have also warned against overburdening teachers. “School heads should not expect teachers to be engaged in six to eight hours of online teaching in a day. Rather they may be engaged for about two to three hours of online activities per day for the classes they teach," the document read.

The ministry has also shared guidelines for parents and students on healthy online habits which include postures while learning digitally, being secure and safe in cyberspace, and tips to maintain mental wellness.

Universities and schools across the country have been shut since 16 March, when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shut down as part of measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. A nationwide lockdown was announced on 24 March, which came into effect the next day.

While the government has largely eased restrictions, schools and colleges continue to remain closed.

With inputs from PTI

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