HT Chandigarh Our Take: For online studies limit children’s exposure to digital devices
The HRD ministry wants to limit the time students spend with digital devices to access online education as schools remain closed due to Covid-19. What’s your take on the matter?
The world today is not just grappling with the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, but its fallout too on people’s lives, their education, jobs and businesses.
The student community has been hit particularly hard with schools closed for more than three months, forcing them to log into smart phones to access teachers’ lectures as classes go online.
Serious concerns, therefore, arise in this scenario, about the youngsters’ health and wellness, and a pointer in this direction has come this week from the Union human resource development (HRD) ministry that Children in classes 1 to 8 should spend no more than two teaching sessions of 30 to 45 minutes each in a day. Only four such sessions have been recommended by the ministry to limit the time students spend in front of screens.
A report in Hindustan Times said recently that the HRD ministry guidelines — which are not binding but are likely to be adopted by schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Kendriya Vidyalayas — are meant “to mitigate the impact of the pandemic” on the roughly 240 million children as schools stay shut to reduce the risk of infection.
Schools will need to “remodel” and “re-imagine” teaching and learning methods by introducing suitable home and institutional schooling methods, reads the HRD ministry’s document.
Focus should be on consolidation of learning and not attempts made to complete the syllabus quickly. “Plan the interventions keeping in mind students’ level, age, resource availability, nature of content, etc,” the guidelines suggest.
Rather than relying too much on teaching in front of screens, schools have been asked to focus on the alternative academic calendar, which the National Council of Educational Research and Training is preparing for the year.
Medical experts say children exposed to digital technologies or gadgets for a longer time are prone to severe health issues, underlining the need for age-appropriate schedules.
HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has said the guidelines, titled PRAGYATA, have been developed from the perspective of learners, with a focus on online, blended or digital education for students who are at present at home.
The picture is very clear, it is not just teachers and schools that will now have to take the session forward this year; parents, family and peers too will need to chip in to support the youngsters.
Not just studies; how children deal with everyday living; learn from experiences during this period and focus on mental health issues as well will be important.
How can children’s exposure to digital devices be limited?
Should children be exposed for long hours to computers or smartphones while studying from home? How can blended education work in schools? Send your responses and a mugshot to Chandigarh@hindustantimes.com by July 24.