Schools may not open before Nov, HRD in a fix on academic calendar
The Centre is in a fix about re-opening the educational institutions shut from mid-March. Discussions are on in the HRD Ministry to re-start the new academic session of primary and secondary school education from November only.
At the same time, university regulator UGC is about to issue a fresh set of guidelines for rescheduling the higher and technical education institutions. The earlier schedule for July reopening remains non-starter since the universities have cancelled semester exams awaiting further guidelines from the HRD Ministry.
However, as far as the top technical institutions such as IITs, AIIMS, NIT etc, are concerned the new session will start only from mid-November. Ministry sources confirmed this after the new schedule of the JEE and NEET entrances to be held till September-end was announced last week.
The results to these entrances will be declared around mid-October. The follow-up e-counselling and admission procedures take almost a month.
The major problem for the educational stakeholders is reopening of schools. A senior HRD Ministry official in Secondary School Education said ideally the academic calendar for school education is 280 days and had it been July re-opening of the schools it would have been possible to stretch the calendar without reducing the syllabus.
“But now, given the situation of Covid we will have to reconsider and rework the academic calendar which may begin only by October/November. We have to keep in mind the SOP issued by the Centre which also mentions children are a vulnerable community for the global pandemic. However, most of the school boards have been taking the advantage of technology and enabling study continues,” said an official.
While CBSE is working on the new academic formula including syllabus through NCERT, the ICSE has reduced syllabi for all major subjects at the ICSE and ISC levels for the academic year 2020-2021. “Syllabus reduction are being done keeping in mind the linear progression across classes while ensuring that the concepts related to the subject are retained,” said a HRD Ministry official.
CISCE Chief Executive and Secretary Gerry Arathoon told The Pioneer that there might be a 50 per cent reduction in syllabus too if the conditions did not improve in the coming months. “Given the academic loss till July, which is around 45 days we have reduced the syllabus for the students appearing for Class 10 and 12 Boards up to 25 per cent,” Gerry Arthoon said.
In order to engage students meaningfully during their stay at home due to COVID-19 through educational activities at home with the help of their parents and teachers, the alternative academic calendars for students, parents and teachers at primary and upper primary stage have been developed by the NCERT under the guidance of the MHRD. The Ministry has released Alternative Academic Calendar for 8 weeks for primary stage which will go until September first week.
Earlier four weeks Alternative Academic Calendar for Primary Classes was released in April, 2020 when it was believed that schools would resume in July even if the lockdown ended by May-end.
Monday, 06 July 2020 | Deepak Kumar Jha | New Delhi
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