New Delhi: The 220 working days and 1,320 hours of in-school studying model is likely to be replaced with a combination of school and home learning under a new normal dictated by the Covid-19 pandemic, people aware of the development said.
The Union human resources development ministry is working on a proposed framework that will cut down the in-school learning time to 100 days and 600 hours and add an equal proportion of 100 days and 600 ‘active learning hours’ at home, they said.
The remaining 120 hours, or 20 days (two days a month), are likely to be set aside for interventions from doctors and counsellors either at school or at home to ensure the emotional wellbeing of children.
In its guidelines on ‘Reopening of Schools’, which will be announced soon, the HRD ministry is also expected to ask all schools to focus on disadvantaged children who may not have access to online facilities and learning tools and children with special needs to help them adapt to the new format of learning, the sources said.
The Centre is preparing to ask all states to ensure that children of returnee migrant workers and all others who may have experienced displacement due to the lockdown are immediately granted admission at their nearest school – on the basis of any identity card without insisting on transfer certificate or other usual requirements – so that they do not fall off the learning curve, they said.
Simultaneously, schools in areas from where migrant workers have left for now are to be asked not to immediately strike off the names of children who may not be back to school when it reopens. Instead, they should prepare a database on such cases.
The HRD ministry is also likely to advise schools to ensure special attention, individualised instructional plans, and remedial formats for these children, the sources said.
Its guidelines will advise states, the student-teacher-parent community and schools on ‘learning with social/physical distancing’.
It is proposed that no more than 30%-50% students attend school at one time with a graded format and possibly double shifts. Those in class 1 to 5 may attend school only twice a week, while classes 6 to 8 may attend 2-4 times a week, and classes 9 to 12 may attend 4-5 times a week.
A weekly time-table system is advised with the typical 46-minute period truncated to a 30-minute one. A separate hour-long integrated lesson may be planned for some subjects.
Flexibility in attendance and sick leave formats, and even allowing students – with consent of their parents – to study from home with proper learning protocols are proposed.
A key component of the academic year will be the changed assessment/examination format, sources said.
The HRD ministry is likely to discourage pen and paper-based assessments and, instead, pitch for ‘non-stressful assessment’ formats ranging from role play, quizzes, presentations in class, and project work and portfolios at home.
A mellower assessment is part of the larger emphasis in the guidelines to ensure the wellbeing of children and keep stress levels down, sources said.
Wellbeing of teachers and all staffers is also part of the proposed framework, they said.
Counselling apart, schools will be advised to look at yogic exercises and other activities to help students get used to the new format with physical distancing without any stress.
Involvement of students – especially from class 6 onwards – in monitoring that physical distancing and hygiene norms are followed on campus is suggested along with poster making and myth busting on Covid-19.
AT A DISTANCE
A full standard operating procedure will be devised across schools to ensure Covid-19 is kept at bay through intensive sanitisation and rigorous norms for physical distancing in class, school transport, labs, playgrounds, and so on, people cited earlier said.
Separate guidelines will be issued on serving of mid-day meals in government schools, including mandating salt/turmeric washes for vegetables, monitored cooking, staggered serving of the mid-day meal to children, daily thermal screening of cooks and helpers, and ensuring disinfection of the kitchen and serving area.
Hostels will have to ensure temporary partitions are created to ensure physical distancing and initial quarantine facilities are made available for students as they come from homes and public transport.
FROM A DISTANCE, WITH A MASK
* Open air/temporary outdoor classes with physical distancing where possible. 6 feet distance in class, staff rooms, reception. School to decide SOPs for lab and playground usage.
* Separate lanes for entry and exit to school, multiple exit areas and staggered entry and exit timings
* School transport to be sanitised twice daily, one seat one child policy, no curtains in bus; pick and drop by parents for primary school goers, car pooling to be discouraged
* The School hostel- first preference to students with no facilities for online education. Temporary partitions to separate hostelers, screened staff only to enter hostels, quarantine facilities to be created for hostel students. Good quality wifi at every hostel to enable online studying
* Schools to work their budgets for supplies like thermometers, disinfectants, soaps, masks and set up task forces for COVID related measures
* NCERT to prepare suggestive timetable for classed 1-8. CBSE to ready a revised curricular load for classes 9 to 12.
* No school bag ideally for under Class 5.