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MHRD drafting new policy on virtual classes

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In a major development, the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry is working on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for online classes. The new SOPs will ensure that students don’t have to spend hours before computers or on phones to attend virtual classes and can learn at their own pace.

The COVID-19 pandemic has mandated a shift from classroom teaching to online learning as schools continue to be closed for over three months. The guidelines are being developed in view of complaints from parents about schools conducting online classes like regular school, which has increased children’s screen time.

A senior official said “There were several complaints about the sudden increase in screen time for students due to the online classes. Also, on one hand, schools did not permit mobile phones within their premises and discouraged their use for students and now suddenly they are dependent on electronic devices the whole day. A balance has to be maintained to ensure there is a healthy approach.”

Also read: Elets Exclusive | Educators call for new strategy in education sector post COVID-19

According to the official, “The guidelines are being framed in consultation with various stakeholders. A fixed duration of online classes will be recommended to ensure students are not sitting before electronic devices for long hours.” “The online platform used for imparting classes will allow students to learn at their own pace rather than making it a strict classroom-bound approach,” the official added.

Universities and schools across the country have been shut since March 16, when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shut down as part of measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. A nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24, which came into effect the next day. While the government has largely eased restrictions, schools and colleges continue to remain closed.

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