HRD Ministry announces guidelines for online classes; Recommends restriction on the screen time

The Human Resource and Development Ministry has announced guidelines for online classes operationalised by schools amid the COVID pandemic. Union Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank virtually released the PRAGYATA guidelines on digital education. The guidelines recommend a cap on the screen time for students.

The HRD Ministry has suggested that the online classes for pre-primary students should not be for more than 30 minutes a day. For Classes 1st to 8th , it has suggested that not more than two online sessions of upto 45 minutes each should be conducted in a day. The guidelines have been issued keeping in mind the overall development of the students with an aim to cut down undue screen time. For the senior students, from class 9th to 12th, the Ministry has suggested to limit the online classes to a maximum of four sessions of upto 45 minutes each.

Speaking on the release of the PRAGYATA guidelines, Pokhriyal said that COVID-19 pandemic has led to closure of schools and has impacted over 240 million children of the country who are enrolled in schools. He said, PRAGYATA guidelines have been developed from the perspective of learners, with a focus on online, digital education for students who are presently at home due to lockdown. He added that these guidelines on Digital Education provide a roadmap for carrying forward online education to enhance the quality of education. The Minister highlighted that the guidelines will be relevant and useful for a diverse set of stakeholders including school heads, teachers, parents, teacher educators and students. The guidelines stress upon the use of alternative academic calendar of NCERT, for both, learners having access to digital devices and learners having limited or no access.

The PRAGYATA guidelines include eight steps of digital learning that is, Plan- Review- Arrange- Guide- Yak (talk)- Assign- Track- Appreciate. These steps guide the planning and implementation of digital education step by step with examples. The Guidelines also emphasize the need to unify all efforts related to digital, online education, benefitting school going children across the country. The initiative includes DIKSHA, SWAYAM Prabha, Radio Vahini and Shiksha Vaani.