Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' on Tuesday released an alternative academic calendar for secondary classes for the next eight weeks as schools continue to be closed in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. "The calendar contains week-wise plan consisting of interesting and challenging activities, with reference to theme or chapter taken from syllabus or textbook. Most importantly, it maps the themes with the learning outcomes," the minister said.
The purpose of mapping of themes with learning outcomes is to facilitate teachers and parents to assess the progress in the learning of children and also to go beyond textbooks, Nishank said. "The activities given in the calendar focus on learning outcomes and can thus be achieved through any resource including the textbooks children are using in their state or Union Territory. It also covers experiential learning activities such as arts education, physical exercises, yoga, pre-vocational skills," he added. This calendar contains class-wise and subject-wise activities in tabular forms. The activities are related to four languages as subject areas--Hindi English, Urdu and Sanskrit. The calendar also gives space to the strategies of reducing stress and anxiety among teachers, students and parents.
The minister said the calendar has taken into account, the varying levels of access to such tools-mobile phone, radio, television, SMS and various social media. "Many of us may not have Internet facility in mobile phones, or may not be able to use different social media tools such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and Google. The calendar guides teachers to further help parents and students through SMS on mobile phones or through voice call. Parents are expected to help elementary stage students to implement this calendar," Nishank said. Universities and schools across the country have been closed since March 16, when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as part of the measures to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. While several restrictions have been eased in different phases of "unlock", educational institutions continue to be closed and teaching process has shifted online.
Partial resumption of activities in schools for students of classes 9-12 will be allowed from September 21 for which Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been announced by the health ministry.