Education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ virtually releases Students’ Learning Enhancement Guidelines in New Delhi on Aug 19. Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that during the present-day epidemic of COVID-19, institutions under ministry of education worked together and attempted to take school education to children at home through digital means. The documents such as Alternative Academic Calendar, PRAGYATA Guidelines, Digital Education-India Report, NISHTHA-Online, etc. are some of the initiatives that have been undertaken to maintain continuity in school education for children. Amidst efforts to provide school education to the students through alternative ways, concerns from various stakeholders were raised about the learning of those children do not have access to digital resources. In addition to this, it was also revealed that due to unequal access to digital resources to get school education at home, the concerns of equity and inclusion can lead to deficiencies in learning of children.
In view of this, NCERT has prepared Students’ Learning Enhancement Guidelines on the direction of the ministry for the present situation and also for post pandemic situation. The minister informed that these guidelines, models are suggested for the following three types of situations. Firstly, in which students do not have any digital resources. Secondly, in which students have limited digital resources available. Lastly, in which students have digital resources available for online education.
The minister said that these guidelines emphasise upon the community working closely with the school to get learning materials such as workbooks, worksheets, etc. delivered at the doorsteps of children by teachers and volunteers. It also suggests teaching local students by volunteers or teachers setting up television at the community centre and maintaining social distance norms.
Pokhriyal informed that these guidelines also talks about setting up of a helpline at the community center with the help of members of the community and Panchayati Raj. It recommends orientation of parents to support and participate in the learning of their children. He added that in all the three situations, use and implantation of Alternative Academic Calendar is suggested. Recommendations given in these guidelines are based on survey undertaken by the NCERT on accessibility of digital resources in the schools of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti and CBSE and also on Continuous Learning Plan prepared for the States/UTs by the ministry.
The minister highlighted that these guidelines will help children, who do not have digital resources to get learning opportunities at home with their teachers or volunteers. Apart from this, it will also help in our efforts to overcome the learning deficiencies of all those students who are learning at home through various alternative ways i.e., using radio, TV, smartphone, etc.