Education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ virtually released the alternative academic calendar for upper primary classes recently. In order to engage students meaningfully during their stay at home due to COVID-19 through educational activities at home with the help of their parents and teachers, the alternative academic calendars for students , parents and teachers at primary and upper primary stage have been developed by the NCERT under the guidance of the MHRD.
Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that the calendar will empower our students, teachers, school principals and parents to find out positive ways to deal with Covid-19 using online teaching -learning resources, and also improving their learning outcomes getting school education at home. He added that the calendar at upper primary stage (Classes VI to VIII) was released for four weeks. Now the calendar for next eight weeks at upper primary stage has been released. He further said that the calendar provides guidelines to teachers on the use of various technological tools and social media tools available for imparting education in fun-filled, interesting ways, which can be used by learner, parents and teachers even while at home.
Pokhriyal said that it has taken into account, the varying levels of access to such tools – mobile phone, radio, television, SMS and various social media. The fact that many of us may not have internet facility in the mobile phone, or may not be able to use different social media tools, such as WhatsApp, facebook, twitter, google, etc., the calendar guides teachers to further help parents and students through SMS on mobile phones or through voice call. Parents are expected to help elementary stage students to implement this calendar.
The minister highlighted that this calendar will cater to the need of all children including divyang children (children with special need) – link for audio books, radio programmes, video programme will be included.
Pokhriyal informed that the calendar contains week-wise plan consisting of interesting and challenging activities, with reference to theme/ chapter taken from syllabus or textbook. Most importantly, it maps the themes with the learning outcomes. The purpose of mapping of themes with learning outcomes is to facilitate teachers/ parents to assess the progress in the learning of children and also to go beyond textbooks. The activities given in the calendar focus on learning outcomes and can thus be achieved through any resource including the textbooks children are using in their state or UT.
It also covers experiential learning activities such as arts education, physical exercises, yoga, pre-vocational skills, etc. This calendar contains class-wise and subject-wise activities in tabular forms. It includes activities related to four languages as subject areas, i.e., hindi, english, urdu and sanskrit. It also gives space to the strategies of reducing stress and anxiety among teachers, students and parents. Calendar includes link for chapter wise e-content available on the e-pathshala, NROER and DIKSHA portal of GoI.
All the given activities are suggestive in nature, not prescriptive, nor is the sequence mandatory. Teachers and parents may opt to contexualise the activities and do those activities that the student shows interest in, irrespective of the sequence.