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New online curriculum for Class I-VIII in pipeline

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, July 17 - With educational institutions unlikely to open in near future and the online medium reaching only 55 per cent of the students, a worried education department is now scrambling to bridge the digital and infrastructural divide.

As part of the efforts, it has roped in the North Eastern Council to fund virtual classrooms in 34 schools and three DIETs of three aspirational districts � Goalpara, Dhubri and Barpeta.

Also, the educational department has sent a proposal to the Asian Development Bank for funding tablets to poor students.

�It is unlikely that educational institutions will open before October. While the COVID situation continues to be alarming, the floods have compounded the problem. Despite efforts to conduct classes online, infrastructural gaps have deprived 45 per cent of the students (elementary level to Class XII) from getting the benefit.

�In some places there is no network, while some students don�t have android phones, etc.,� an official source told The Assam Tribune.

Since 2017, virtual classrooms are functional in 250 schools. Having roped in the NEC, the department is trying to open more such smart classrooms.

Moreover, the Director of SCERT has been asked to prepare a new online module out of the present curriculum � from elementary level to Class VIII � to suit the online medium of teaching.

�The regular curriculum is not possible to be taught online. We need a modified version which will adapt to the online mode. The module will be applicable in all districts. The students cannot afford further losses as it might hamper their academic growth, and so we are giving stress on a new online curriculum and upgrading the infrastructure as well,� the sources said.

The move comes after the HRD ministry�s initiative to launch the first online National Initiative for School Heads and Teachers Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA) programme for resources persons. States have been asked to translate the online teaching materials in their local languages.

Developed by NCERT, the modules under NISHTHA focus on the holistic development of children and hence include curriculum inclusive of education, health and wellbeing, personal social qualities, art integrated learning, initiatives in school education, subject-specific pedagogies, ICT in teaching-learning, leadership, pre-school education and pre-vocational education. All the modules are centred around learning outcomes and learner-centred pedagogy.

�A day before yesterday, we had a video conference with the HRD ministry. The Central government will not take any decision on reopening educational institutions. It has left the decision to the States. However, even after preparing the SoP for resuming the classes, it is not possible to reopen the schools given the present situation in Assam,� the sources added.

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