The new rules have been put in place after parents complained about increased screen time due to online classes. The parents claimed that schools have been trying to conduct online classes in the same fashion as pre-Covid times.
The guidelines released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) are called “Pragyata”.
Schools have been given recommendations stating classes for pre-primary students should not be for more than 30 minutes.
For classes 1 to 8, the HRD Ministry has recommended two online sessions of up to 45 minutes each while for classes 9 to 12, four sessions of 30-45 minutes duration have been recommended.
Schools across state borders have been asked to unify all efforts related to digital or on-air education, benefitting schoolchildren across the country.
The guidelines include eight steps of online or digital learning — plan, review, arrange, guide, talk, assign, track and appreciate. These steps guide the planning and implementation of digital education step-by-step with examples.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to closure of schools and has impacted over 240 million children of the country who are enrolled in schools. Extended school closures may cause loss of learning.
“To mitigate the impact of the pandemic, schools will not only have to remodel and reimagine the way teaching and learning have happened so far, but will also need to introduce a suitable method of delivering quality education through a healthy mix of schooling at home and schooling at school,” HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said.
He said that the guidelines have been made with a focus on online education for students who are at home.
“The guidelines have been developed from the perspective of learners, with a focus on online, blended, digital education for students who are presently at home due to the lockdown.These guidelines on digital education provide a roadmap or pointers for carrying forward online education to enhance the quality of education,” Nishank added.
“These guidelines for school heads and teachers describe the need assessment, planning and steps to implement digital education while ensuring cyber safety and privacy measures. It also outlines the support to be provided to students with special needs. Main emphasis is on balanced online and offline activities keeping the screen time as an essential parameter in accordance with the level of students,” a senior HRD Ministry official said.
“For parents, the guidelines helps to understand the need for physical, mental health and wellbeing along with cyber safety measures for children at home.
“Guidelines for physical health and mental wellness is stressed across the guidelines for all stakeholders measures so that children do not get overly stretched or stressed, or get affected negatively (postural defects, ophthalmic issues, and other physical problems) owing to prolonged use of digital devices. Also, it provides sufficient do’s and don’ts regarding ergonomics and cyber safety,” the official added.
With Inputs from PTI