Education deptt issues guidelines for holding online, offline classes in schools

Education deptt issues guidelines for holding online, offline classes in schools
A student takes online classes with the teachers through video conferencing as the school is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in Mumbai on Monday. [File]ANI

Srinagar: The School Education Department Friday issued guidelines for the government as well as private educational institutions for holding classes of students through online and offline mode.

The guidelines have been issued in continuation of the government directions wherein the schools were allowed to start offline physical classes for students of class 10th and 12th with a limited attendance.

An order issued by the Principal Secretary School Education Department Bishwajit Kumar Singh said that the schools had been asked to continue online synchronous learning for three sessions of 30-45 minutes for class 1st to 5th on each school day.

“Online synchronous learning should be undertaken for four sessions of 30-45 minutes for elementary level students (class 6th to 8th) on each school day,” the order reads.

The department has further ordered that the schools should take five online sessions of 30-45 minutes each for class 9th students.

“All schools should follow a routine timetable for classes 6th to 12th (blended learning) to ensure completion of prescribed syllabus well before the annual examination,” the order reads. While the government has issued guidelines for holding online classes, several national surveys have revealed that more than 70 percent of government school students in J&K do not have access to internet services or facilities of smart phones, creating a digital divide among the students.

The Union Minister of Education recently said that 70 percent of students in J&K do not have access to digital devices, which implies that these children do not have smart phones and laptops to avail online education facilities.

The lack of these facilities among the students has been a major hurdle in the delivery of education to the students.

Meanwhile, in case of class 10th to 12th students, the schools have been asked to conduct in-person teaching of students in line with the instructions issued by the Disaster Management Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Department on September 12.

“The order should be followed in letter and spirit by the concerned heads of the schools,” the order reads.

The schools have also been allowed to conduct offline pre-board examinations for classes 10th and 12th for the current academic session of 2020-21. The government has also allowed the J&K State Council of Education Research and Trainings (SCERT) to impart offline teacher training with restricted gathering of 25 persons.

“Prescribed guidelines on digital education and Covid Appropriate Behavior should be followed in letter and spirit,” the order reads.

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