COVID-19: NCERT develops alternative academic calendar to engage school students during lockdown

New Delhi: The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has developed an alternative academic calender for school students to engage them meaningfully as they stay at home during the lockdown imposed to fight COVID-19. The calendar was released by Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ on Thursday.

“The calendar provides guidelines to teachers on the use of various technological tools and social media tools available for imparting education in fun-filled, interesting ways, which can be used by learner to learn even while at home. However, it has taken into account, the varying levels of access to such tools-Mobile, Radio, Television, SMS and various social media.”

“The fact that many of us may not have internet facility in our mobiles, or may not be able to use different social media tools- such as Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter and Google, the calendar advises teachers to further guide parents and students through SMS on mobile phones or mobile call. Parents are expected to help elementary-stage students to implement this calendar,” Nishank said.

This minister said all Classes from I-XII and subject areas will be covered under the alternative calendar, which will also cater to children with special needs using links to audio books, radio programmes and video programmes.

“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 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 minister also said that all the given activities are suggestive in nature and neither the prescriptive, nor the sequence is mandatory.

“Teachers and parents may opt to contextualise the activities and do those activities that the student shows interest in, irrespective of the sequence. This will empower our students, teachers, school principals and parents to find out positive ways to deal with Covid-19 using on-line teaching-learning resources and also improving their learning outcomes getting school education at home,” he said.

The country is under a lockdown since March 24 to contain the spread of coronavirus. However, schools were closed and exams postponed at least 10 days before the lockdown was announced. The lockdown has now been extended till May 3.

According to Union health Ministry, the death toll due to coronavirus rose to 414 and the number of cases to 12,380 in the country on Thursday. While the number of active COVID-19 cases is 10,477, as many as 1,488 people have been cured and discharged and one had migrated, it said.

The total number of cases includes 76 foreign nationals.

Twenty-two deaths were reported since Wednesday evening, the ministry said in its updated data.

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