Education is among the worst-hit sectors by the current pandemic. Since mid-March, schools have been closed. Consequently, the teaching and learning process has been shifted to digital platforms. However, Education Ministry officials told a parliamentary panel that this academic year will not a “zero year”. The statement was for colleges and other higher education institutions. This indicates their willingness to continue education by different means. In addition to this, exams can be conducted by the end of the session.
The guidelines regarding online classes were informed to the Parliamentary standing committee on Human Resource Development. The online means of education is only for classes 3 and above. This includes a limited number of classes till class 8. Accessibility emerged as an important concern. This was with respect to internet facilities and gadgets among poor families. The members of Parliament questioned the accessibility of online education for families with only one smartphone. This is particularly relevant to rural areas.
Panel Chairman Vinay Sahasrabuddhe suggested the means of transistor and community radio for poor students. The need of the hour is to adopt innovative ways to reach out to students. One of these ways can be the integrated voice recording system employed in Andhra Pradesh. On the other hand, areas with internet connectivity issues can use district newspapers.
A Big Question Bank to facilitate students
Along with this, the senior BJP leader suggested the creation of a “big question bank”. The detailed resource will cover all the subjects. It will allow exams to be conducted in the current academic session. He also explained how it will help students in multiple ways. Additionally, it will help ease the exam-related anxiety and fear among the students.
Reopening of Schools
The physical reopening of schools has been a major and much-debated question since the first lockdown. In a webinar, Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal said the decision will be taken within 10-15 days. He said it will require discussions with several bodies. This includes- State governments, Educational institutions, and the Health and Home Ministries.
Moreover, it is important to note that there will be a considerable impact of both closure and opening of schools. Nevertheless, both education, as well as health and safety, should be our priority.