HRD announces guidelines for online classes
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HRD announces guidelines for online classes

Recommends cap on screen time for students

The HRD Ministry on Tuesday announced guidelines for online classes by schools and recommended a cap on duration and the number of sessions in a day for students.

The guidelines have been framed by the ministry, following concerns raised by  parents about schools conducting online classes like regular schools, which has increased children's screen time after the COVID-19 pandemic mandated a shift from classroom teaching to online learning as schools continue to remain shut for over four months.

In the guideline called "Pragyata", the Ministry of Human Resource Development  (MHRD) has recommended that the duration for online 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.

Noting that in a country like India characterised by multifarious diversity, switching over to digital modes of education needs various states, union territories and national-level organisations to join hands for a change that will sustain post-COVID-19 also.

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.

HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' said that the guidelines have been made with a focus on online education for students who are at home.

Need of assessment, concerns while planning online and digital education like duration, screen time, inclusiveness, balanced online and offline activities, level-wise modalities of intervention, including resource curation, level-wise delivery.

Physical, mental health and wellbeing during digital education, cyber safety and ethical practices, including precautions and measures for maintaining cyber safety and collaboration, and convergence with various initiatives are among the various issues addressed by guidelines for administrators, school heads, teachers, parents and students.

"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. 

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