Government caps screen time for virtual classes

Government caps screen time for virtual classes
The six-year-old child complained about the burden in online classes. [Screengrab]

Srinagar, June 1: The school education department today issued detailed guidelines for virtual classes for the students in J&K.

The move comes a day after Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, directed the department to come up with a policy within 48 hours to ease the burden of homework on the minor students. Earlier, in a video message a minor had appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ease

the burden of homework on the kids. The six-year-old girl in the video had complained about the huge burden of homework put on the kids through Zoom classes.

Meanwhile, the government directed the Chief Education Officers (CEOs), Heads of the Institutions (HoIs) and Zonal Education Officers (ZEOs) to ensure strict adherence to the guidelines by the government as well as private schools.

As per an official communication addressed to Directors School Education Kashmir and Jammu, by Principal Secretary School Education Department B K Singh, the online classes were required to be conducted in tune with guidelines notified by the Ministry of Education, government of India, on Digital Education "PRAGYATA”.

With reference to these guidelines, the administrative department has asked the schools to follow a particular screen time schedule keeping in view the overall development of students. “The duration should not go beyond 30 minutes for pre primary classes, on a given day for interacting with the parents and guiding them,” the official communication reads.

The department has recommended that the students of class 1st to 12th should adopt the alternative academic calendar of NCERT at its official website. “Online synchronous learning may be undertaken for students of class 1st to 8th for not more than two sessions of 30-45 minutes each on the days the UT decides to have online classes for primary sections,” it reads.

The department has also recommended that online synchronous learning should be undertaken for 9th to 12th class students for not more than four sessions of 30-45 minutes on each day as decided by JUTs.

“Use Instant Messaging/Chat groups/emails involving parents for sharing important information, resources, suggestions, and follow up activities,” the department has directed the school heads.

The schools have also been directed to post a weekly announcement to provide an overview of the coming week's topic or a recap of the previous week's work, or both. “Teachers may share e-content with students and parents and guide them how to use those contents using available gadgets at home. Provide time to time feedback on the responses and performance of students in the assigned tasks,” the official communication reads.

The department has also issued instructions to the teachers to suggest alternative support like peer learning and seeking help from neighbours, identified local volunteers where the parents are not in a position to support students in digital learning.

“Teachers may themselves select the contents and circulate among students and parents to help them choose appropriate digital media,” it reads.

In the specific guidelines related to preschool- grade 1 and 2, the teachers have been asked to plan joyful learning experiences for digital learning as is done face-to-face.

“Daily life experiences must be shared for enhancing their competency. Give interesting assignments to children such as listening, and reading, stories followed by activities like drawing inferences, adding/changing the climax at the end, picture reading, art and craft, puzzles, simple observation projects, learning new words,” the guideline reads.

The teachers have also been asked to occasionally organize brief and casual meetings with the parents and children through video conferencing and give them a chance to narrate their feelings and experiences.

“Encourage the parent to document the child's work through a photo or a short video in order to stay connected to the child's early learning experience without making it stressful or going for rote learning. Guide parents regarding monitoring TV programs viewing, about what cartoons/ programs are being watched by children,” it reads.

In separate guidelines for senior students, the teachers have been asked to give 10-15 minutes break between two consecutive classes of students to freshen up, relax and re-engage themselves to focus on the next class.

“Encourage peer discussion and interaction during online classes,” reads the guidelines.

The Directors of School Education, Kashmir and Jammu have been asked to submit a report to the administrative department on a weekly basis.

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