Q. Why is this in news?
Recently, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has released guidelines on digital education titled 'PRAGYATA'.
- The guidelines have been prepared by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).
- The guidelines include eight steps of online/digital learning i.e. Plan- Review- Arrange- Guide- Yak (talk)- Assign- Track- Appreciate.
Q. What are some of recommendations of guidelines?
- Digital Access:
- Over 25 crore students across the country have been out of school since mid-March 2020. (owing to Covid-19pandemic). The guidelines acknowledge that these students live in households which fall into different categories:
- Those who have computers or smartphones with 4G internet access.
- Those with smartphones but limited or no internet access.
- Those with television with cable or DTH.
- Those with a radio set or a basic mobile phone with FM radio.
- And those with no communication devices at all.
- It emphasised the aim of digital classrooms is not to try and recreate Face-to-Face (F2F) classrooms over the internet.
- Need for Survey: It advises schools to first survey the digital infrastructure available with teachers as well as students, the levels of parental involvement before making decisions about the mode of teaching.
- Therefore, schools must also make arrangements to reach students who do not have access to any digital infrastructure at home.
- Duration: For kindergarten, nursery and pre-school, only 30 minutes of screen time per day for interacting with parents is recommended.
- Schools can hold live online classes for a maximum of 1.5 hours per day for Classes 1-8, and 3 hours per day for Classes 9-12.
- Synchronous or Real-time Communication: This is real-time teaching and learning that can happen collaboratively at the same time with a group of online learners or individuals, and teachers allowing instant feedback, e.g. online teaching through video conference, audio conference, using satellite or telecommunication facilities.
- However, schools should not assume that teaching-learning through it is the only requirement in order to support effective digital learning.Asynchronous Learning: Apart from live classes, it offered a number of recommendations for asynchronous learning with tools to allow students to download lessons or listen to radio and TV programmes, communicate through WhatsApp and SMS, study on their own and undertake creative projects.
- Health Issues: Children exposed to digital technologies or gadgets for a longer time are prone to severe health issues.
- Hence sitting with digital gadgets for longer hours or their excess use can be avoided by designing age appropriate schedules.
- Cyber Safety: It also recommends ethical practices including precautions and measures for maintaining cyber safety.
- Convergence: It envisages convergence with the government initiatives on digital education e.g. SWAYAM Prabha, SWAYAM, DIKSHA and Radio Vahini, Shiksha Vaani.
Q. Is these guidelines mandatory?
A. No, these are only advisory in nature and state governments can formulate their own rules, based on local needs.
Q. What is NCERT?
- The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) is an autonomous organisation of the Government of India which was established in 1961 as a literary, scientific and charitable Society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
- It aims at reforming the school education system through research, training, policy formulation and curriculum development.
- Headquarters: New Delhi