New Delhi: The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has come up with an alternative academic calendar for primary schoolchildren (classes 1 to 5) while also suggesting ways to beat internet troubles while conducting online lessons during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The module, prepared by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), was made public by the ministry Thursday.
With the central government announcing a further 19 days of lockdown and directing that schools and colleges remain shut, the ministry had Wednesday asked all educational institutions to continue with the academic calendar through online education. The NCERT module is expected to help with this.
“A week-wise plan for the primary stage (from Classes 1 to 5) has been developed, keeping in view the choice of availability of tools with the teachers,” the NCERT guidelines state. “The week-wise plan consists of interesting activities and challenges, with reference to theme/chapter taken from syllabus or textbook.”
Among other things, teachers have been advised to conduct classes in keeping with weekly themes. For instance, for Class 1 students, different maths concepts such as pre-number vocabulary, developing number sense, etc, can be tackled per week.
Similar plans have been charted out for other classes and subjects.
According to the guidelines, the module maps the learning outcomes. “The activities are suggestive in nature, not prescriptive, nor is the sequence mandatory. Teachers and parents may opt to do the activities that the student shows interest in, irrespective of the sequence,” it adds.
When net is patchy
In case there is no internet at a student’s home or the connection is patchy, teachers have been advised to explain the activity over the phone, or through SMS or recorded voice messages. The guidelines ask teachers to engage parents while explaining concepts students may find difficult. They also advise follow-up activities to assess the progress of students.
Acknowledging that it is difficult for teachers to call up individual students, the guidelines state, “The teacher may opt for calling students or parents in a phase-wise manner for interacting, explaining and assessing. Hence it is suggested that this may be done in smaller groups.”
Elaborating on the advice, the NCERT has said a teacher may call the parents of 15 children in a day (Day 1) and explain the work expected. On Day 2, they can call the parents of five of the 15 children to ascertain the progress made, and follow up with the remaining 10 over Day 3 (5 students) and Day 4 (5 students).
On Day 2, she may also call the parents of an additional 10 children to explain the work expected.
This cycle can help teachers tackle a class of 40 students in 8-10 days.
“Teachers can also send one collective SMS containing activities to a large group of parents/students simultaneously. Voice/video recorded messages may also be sent,” the guidelines state. “Subsequently, parents can also respond to teachers through SMS and recorded voice messages.”
In case tools such as WhatsApp, Google Hangout etc are being used, the guidelines state, teachers may conduct collective classes.
The guidelines also promote the use of government education portals such as e-pathshala, the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) and DIKSHA that offer chapter-wise content.