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New Normal: HRD min unveils guidelines for digital education

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Human Resource Development (HRD) minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, launched guidelines on digital education namely ‘Pragyata’ on Tuesday via Twitter. The guidelines for the digital education system across the country comprise recommended screen time along with mental and physical health tips for children to cope with stress during these uncertain times.

HRD minister tweeted, “Introducing ‘Pragyata’: Guidelines on #Digital Education for school heads, teachers, parents and students containing recommended screen time for children, tips on coping with mental/physical stress during #Digital learning & more”.

Speaking on the initiative the Union HRD Minister said, “COVID–19 pandemic caused the schools to remain shut and has affected over 240 million children across the country”.

Nishankadded that though several measures have already been taken to ensure that academic activities of students continue undeterred,this new initiative is aimed at improving the quality of education through ‘’a healthy mixture of schooling at home and school”. They have formed the guidelines focussing on the online education system from the perspective of learners.

The minister added that the guidelines would prove to be beneficial for children, parents, and teachers. The pointers issued also call for the use of the alternative academic calendar of NCERT. The Pragayta is the abbreviation of eight steps — plan, review, arrange, guide, talk, assign, track, and appreciate. These eight steps intend to guide the planning and implementation of the online education system in an effective manner. While launching the guidelines Nishank said, “The guidelines have been released to ensure the safety and academic welfare of the learners.”

(Pankaj Ray)

Recommended screen or school timing –

For students of pre-primary, the classes should not be more than 30 minutes. For students of class 1 to 8, the classes should not be more than two sessions of 30 – 45 minutes. While for the students of higher classes from 9 to 12 the classes should not be more than four sessions of 30 – 45 minutes each.

Pragyata Digital education Guidelines comprises –

Section I – Understanding Digital/ Online Education – As COVID has disrupted the early system of teaching and education, classes have been shifted online. This section thoroughly explains the concept of digital education. They have divided modes of digital education into three types:-
1. Online Mode- Where there is a computer or smartphone connected to the internet.
2. Partially Online Mode- When Computer or smartphone is available but regular internet is not available.
3. Offline mode- Where Internet Connectivity is not available or is available with very little bandwidth. Example- Radio and Television.

Section II – Pragyata : steps for digital and online education – Concerns while planning online and digital education system including screen time, inclusiveness, balanced online and offline activities, etc. In the second section, they have written steps for digital education. The step for digital education is PRAGYATA (Plan, Review, Arrange, Guide, Yak(Talk), Assign, Track, Appreciate).

Section III – Guidelines for school heads, teachers, parents, and students – Modalities of intervention like resources, duration, level-wise delivery, etc. They have issued separate guidelines for Junior, Senior, and preschool students.

Section IV – Guidelines for physical health & mental wellness during Digital Education- Physical, mental health, and health during online education. Guidelines for proper posture, duration of sitting at a single place, and Yoga have been thoroughly explained.

Section V – Guidelines for State/ UT administration – Cybersafety and ethical practices including precautions and measures for maintaining cyber safety.

Section VI – National Initiatives for Digital Education and Teacher Preparation- Collaboration and convergence with various initiatives. They are adding information about different schemes for digital education such as DIKSHA, Swayam Prabha, PM e-Vidya Program, Swayam, etc in the final section. Also there is information on special e-content for visually and hearing-impaired students.

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