Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ virtually interacts with teachers across the country on upcoming competitive and board exams.
Speaking on the occasion Pokhriyal said that the importance of a Guru has always been more than God and that is why we should respect all the teachers keeping the spirit of Acharya Devo Bhavah. He said that due to the efforts made by the teachers, the online education system of the country is proved successful. The Minister expressed his gratitude to all the teachers for spreading awareness relating to COVID-19 among the students and society at large. He thanked teachers for participating with full sincerity in this war against COVID 19.
On the question relating to Board Exam dates, Pokhriyal said that being a student centric government, we have always worked in the interest of the students. Pokhriyal in his statement said that CBSE is making necessary preparations for conducting the 2021 examinations. As far as the final dates for the examinations are concerned, Board exams will not be held in the month of February and CBSE will very soon announce the dates after discussion with the stakeholders, he added.
Regarding a suggestion on providing vocational education in class IX, Pokhriyal said that there are approximately 8,583 CBSE schools that offer vocational education. He informed that that over 2,80,000 secondary schools, nearly 40,000 colleges and more than 1,000 universities are expected to provide vocational education with internship after the implementation of NEP 2020.
Responding on suggestion that Teachers should be given sufficient training regarding the implementation of Competency Based Education in schools Pokhriyal informed that Ministry of education has implemented NISHTHA programme, which is an online capacity building programme for covering all 42,00,000 elementary school teachers and school heads of the country. This programme was conducted face to face before the pandemic. However, in its wake, this programme was contextualised to the needs of teaching and learning during the pandemic and made 100% online.
The Minister also informed that CBSE, KVS and JNV undertook a massive exercise to build online teaching capacities of their teachers as soon as the lockdown started, to ensure continuity of learning through online means, wherever possible. In the process, CBSE has trained 4,80,000 teachers, KVS trained 15855 and JNV trained 9085 teachers all India. Training was also imparted by NVS to teachers regarding online assessment, he added. Pokhriyal further informed that teachers are being continuously trained for discovery based and experiential learning. The new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for School Education has also been initiated and NCERT will be expected to make changes in the textbooks in accordance with the new NCF. Areas, such as creative thinking, life skills, Indian ethos, art, and integration, etc. need to be integrated.
In a question relating to students to be made aware of the ethical values and morals, the Minister said that the NEP, recommends, students should develop their ethical and moral reasoning, including knowledge and practice of human and “Constitutional values”; gender sensitivity; fundamental duties; citizenship skills and values; knowledge of India; environmental awareness including water and resource conservation, sanitation and hygiene; and current affairs and knowledge of critical issues facing local communities, states, the country, and the world. Following the ideals of NEP, the teachers can change the mindsets of the students and inculcate ethics & values among the students, he said.
Pokhriyal highlighted that to make students aware of the importance of yoga, sports and meditation for mental / physical health, several initiatives are taken by the Ministry. He said that CBSE partnered with FIT INDIA movement to engage students in various online live sessions of physical activities arranged for their physical wellbeing. Most of these live sessions were conducted by popular sportspersons of national and international repute to inspire children to inculcate a discipline of physical fitness even while confined to their homes during the lockdown, he added. He also informed that Sports teachers of all 645 JNVs conduct live sessions and regularly give exercises and practice schedules to students for their fitness. CBSE introduced a new subject at secondary level in class IX from the present academic session viz. Physical Activity Trainer and in KVS, online sessions on fitness training and Yoga were conducted to instil the importance of physical fitness in students.
Regarding Mental Well Being of students the Ministry has undertaken an initiative, named ‘MANODARPAN’ covering a wide range of activities to provide psychosocial support to students, teachers and families for Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing during the COVID outbreak and beyond, Pokhriyal informed.
On the question relating to digital divide due to lack of gadgets and sufficient network, the Minister said MoE has initiated the “coherence” model under PM E – Vidya. He said that the content available online on DIKSHA is now available through SWAYAM PRABHA TV channel. Similarly, it will be available on radio also. Therefore it will not be necessary to have access to the internet only as TV and radio will also be coherent with online content, he added.
The Minister highlighted that Swayam Prabha DTH channels are meant to support and reach out to those students who do not have access to the internet. In the Ministry of Education, a total of 32 channels are devoted to telecast high quality educational programmes, he informed. Of these, 12 TV channels are earmarked for the one class, one TV channel under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Programme for the Department of School Education and Literacy, he added.
Pokhriyal said that Radio broadcasting is being used for children in remote areas who are not online and NCERT is producing high quality audio/radio programs with effective media treatment such as apt music, sound effects and involvement of seasoned and refined artists of good repute in the media world. In all there are about 2000 audio-radio programmes produced by CIET-NCERT in Hindi, English, Urdu and Sanskrit, he added.
On overcome hurdles in conducting online classes the Minister said that we have been persistent with our efforts to leverage multimodal ways for delivering education–, DIKSHA, Swayam Prabha, Community Radio, Shiksha Vani amongst others under the umbrella of PM E – Vidya. Further, states and UTs were advised to use Alternative Academic Calendar, Learning Enhancement Guidelines and follow the Pragyata Guidelines on digital education, he added.
Regarding schedule and syllabus of entrance examinations, the Minister said that the syllabus of JEE (Main) 2021 examination will remain the same as it was last year. However, in order to overcome the impact of reduction of syllabus undertaken by some Boards, the question papers for JEE (Main) 2021 will have 90 questions (30 question each in Physics, Chemistry & Mathematics), out of which the candidate will have to answer 75 questions (25 questions each in Physics, Chemistry & Mathematics), he added.