Education department initiative | Community schools for students without internet facilities

The government has also put a cap on the duration of the online classes to only 40 minutes.
Education department initiative | Community schools for students without internet facilities
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School education department is all set to set up the community schools for students up to class 12th who dont have access to the internet facilities. The education department will organise community classes besides continuing its online mode of education during the temporary closure of the schools in J&K.

In an order issued by the Administrative Secretary School Education Department (SED) Bishwajit Kumar Singh, the officers of the department and heads of the schools have been directed to prioritise the community school for the children who do not have access to the internet and remain unavailable online classes.

"The Community School should invariably function in the open area or ground where the students can sit almost two metres apart from each other. In case of non-availability of such space, staggered schedule or shift timings and student rotation can be an option to run the classes," the order reads. The department has directed the school heads to frame a local committee for each community school consisting of parents, VEC members, SMC members besides roping in other prominent persons from the habitation to monitor and support the community school.

Also, the teachers who have to travel a long distance for reaching their school have been asked to teach in a community school in proximity of their residence.

"The elementary school teacher should register the name with the concerned ZEO while those teaching in High school should get their names registered with the concerned Headmaster and those posted in higher secondary schools should approach the Principal in this regard," the order reads.

Notably the school education department last year received appreciation from the NITI Ayog for organizing the community classes for the school children in far off areas who do not have access to the internet facilities. The initiative was started from some of the zones of Baramulla district and was later replicated to the other parts of Valley as well.

"Last year, our academic staff did an excellent job and it was appreciated by all including NITI Aayog and parliamentary Committees. It is expected that our academic staff will maintain the tempo in online and community classes this year as well," the order reads. Amid the surge in the COVID-19 cases across J&K on a daily basis, the J&K government has ordered for closure of all educational institutions till May 15 as a precautionary measure to prevent further spread of the virus. The educational institutions, as per the government directions, have switched to online mode of education and teachers are delivering online classes for the students through various digital platforms.

"During the closure of schools in J&K, the attendance of staff in person should be restricted to 50 percent only at any point of time on working days and time in view of the rising trend in COVID-19 cases in J&K," the order reads.

The school heads have been directed to frame rosters to ensure presence of staff in schools as per the rosters. "The school will ensure that above such staff shall not be exempted from the duties on account of this order, as needed by the District Disaster Management Authorities or District Magistrates for official duties," the order reads.

The government has also put a cap on the duration of the online classes to only 40 minutes. "Online classes should continue for the connected children through the Learning Management System and other digital platforms," the order reads.

The government has also ordered that all the academic activities in all schools up to class 12th shall be carried out through blended learning from home through online and offline mode across J&K.

"The teaching faculty should facilitate their enrolled students through online classes and provide offline assignments, in a staggered manner, to ensure that no students shall remain without academic guidance or learning," the order reads.

The teachers and the students have been advised to follow the Standard operation Procedures (SoPs). "The subject teachers shall ensure to reach their students through online and offline mode and also remain connected with school administration for updations of academic progress," the order reads. "The concerned HoS shall provide every support to subject teachers for ensuring uninterrupted academic activities," it said.

The government has also ordered that the teachers should focus on mental health and psychological counseling of the students besides focusing on their learning outcomes and remedial teaching through online and offline mode.

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