Schoolchildren attending online classes at home during the Covid-induced lockdown in Shimla. (HT Photo)
Schoolchildren attending online classes at home during the Covid-induced lockdown in Shimla. (HT Photo)

Himachal education dept issues guidelines for online classes

After complaints against private schools, govt asks principals to comply with norms on duration and pedagogy
PUBLISHED ON JUN 16, 2021 05:10 PM IST

The Himachal Pradesh education department has issued guidelines to schools after complaints that long hours of online classes during the Covid-induced lockdown are taking a toll on the health of students.

“There were complaints that children are facing ophthalmic issues and postural problems so the department has issued a circular to school heads to limit the number of hours of online classes,” state education secretary Rajeev Sharma said in Shimla on Wednesday.

Also read: India adaptable and agile even in middle of pandemic: PM Modi

The circular issued by the state director, higher education, Amarjeet K Sharma asked all deputy directors of education and heads of schools said: “It has been observed by the authorities that private schools are imparting excessive online teaching to students which is affecting their physical and mental health. In this regard, all concerned (principals/headmasters/ teachers) are directed to impart online learning classes that should be based on play way methods of teaching and also by organising quiz competitions to make teaching and learning interesting and joyful for students.”

Digital education guidelines on website

The notice said that the central government’s department of school education and literacy has circulated Pragyata Guidelines for Digital Education that concerns planning of online and digital education and factors in duration, screen time, inclusiveness, balanced online and offline activities.

It recommends stage-wise intervention for physical health and mental wellness for all stakeholders, so that children do not get stressed or affected (postural defects, ophthalmic issues, and other physical problems) owing to prolonged use of digital devices. It provides dos and don’ts regarding ergonomics and cyber safety for students. These guidelines are also available on www.education hp.gov.in.

Behavioural change in kids noticed

Dr Dinesh Dutt, who heads the psychiatry department at Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, said: “In many cases, we have found that children working for long hours on computers and other electronic gadgets being used for online classes have developed behavioural changes. Irritability is a major issue parents are facing. Children are becoming more habitual to gadgets.”

The digital education guidelines specify that in case of online and offline mobile and laptop applications for children below Class 2, parents must be a bridge between the digital device and the child. For students from Classes 9 to 12, not more than four sessions of 35 to 40 minutes will be held and attention should be paid to children with special needs.

Different online studies should be formulated for classes and students of different age groups through consultation between teachers and parents. Teachers should take into consideration learning styles, while planning group-wise sessions as some students learn by reading, some by listening and some by doing things.

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