Sensitization on health, hygiene to be promoted through curriculum: Union HRD Min
Nagpur: Union human resources and development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal spoke to TOI about school reopening, online teaching and creating awareness about Covid-19 among school kids.
With crores of school students not having access to smartphones, isn’t the push for online education catering to a select few?
MHRD is committed to ensuring learning for all, with equity, so as to cover all students at all levels of education and in all geographical locations, even in the remotest parts of the country. Mechanisms developed to provide textbooks to all children at home. Alternative Academic Calendar has been developed by NCERT for all classes, it provides option for teachers to guide learners through mobile to other reference sources such as dictionary, atlas, news headlines, storybooks, etc. I am also thankful to Honorable Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitaraman for announcing the launch of comprehensive initiative called PM e-VIDYA which unifies all efforts related to digital/online/on-air education. This will enable multi-mode access to education, and includes:
a. DIKSHA (one nation-one digital platform) which will now become the nation’s digital infrastructure for providing quality e-content in school education for all the states/UTs;
b. TV (one class-one channel) where one dedicated channel per grade for each of the classes 1 to 12 will provide access to quality educational material:
c. SWAYAM online courses in MOOCS format for school and higher education;
d. IITPAL for IITJEE/NEET preparation;
e. Air through Community radio and CBSE Shiksha Vani podcast; and
f. Study material for the differently abled developed on Digitally Accessible Information System (DAISY) and in sign language on NIOS website/ YouTube. This will benefit nearly 25 crore school going children across the country.
TV channels for education (through DD) again work on assumption of television sets at every house where smartphones are not available. Many Urban slum dwellers and inhabitants of villages (like Gadchiroli) don’t have a TV. How is the ministry going to address this section of the society?
MHRD accepts and acknowledges the varied conditions of the students and is thereby working tirelessly to derive solutions for all such that no one is left untouched from the power of education. Mechanisms developed to provide textbooks to all children at home. The curriculum is being transacted using community radio too. States are doing remarkable efforts.
Assam - Biswa Vidya Radio Learning Program aired through AIR Guwahati Dibrugarh, Tele classes through doordarshan for class X & XI, formed Whatsapp group, Phone call & conference call, Webex license
Bihar Education Project Council (BEPC) has announced to introduce learning for students of Class 8 to 12 via radio broadcast in order to facilitate home-schooling amid lockdown. This decision has been taken to begin the new academic session on time.
Language is another barrier because entire state government setups mostly operate through vernacular Schools. How is content being generated for non-Hindi , non-English medium schools
MHRD has taken several to promote, publisese and conserve vernacular languages. The same idea is up kept while devising the digital medium of learning. SWAYAM offers 100 courses in 8 regional languages i.e. Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi Tamil and Telugu. Language can be learnt through eGyanKosh and IGNOU online courses. The National Digital Library (NDL) has a repository of e-content on multiple disciplines from primary to PG levels. 4.3 crores content, harvested from 250 sources; in 400 languages. At school level, DIKSHA hosts more than 80,000 curriculum-linked and curated content pieces in 15 languages (mediums of instruction). The Alternative Curriculum developed by NCERT in three languages.
In some states, like Maharashtra, there seems to a push for reopening of schools as soon as possible by government. Whereas Academicians and parents feel this should be the last thing that opens up
Ministry of Home Affairs will be coming up with guidelines on the opening of the educational institutes. Thereafter, education being a concurrent subject, state governments will assess the situation in the specific zones / district and states before opening of schools.
Will information about infectious diseases (Coronavirus etc) be somehow incorporated into curriculum to increase awareness level of kids.
I have conducted webinars with students, teachers and parents to spread sensitization on COVID-19 and to address the issues and challenges being faced by them during COVID. The curriculum already encapsulates the study on the infectious disease. However, from now the sensitization on health and hygiene will be promoted more through the academic and hidden curriculum.