News Excerpt
Union HRD Ministry released the guidelines for Digital Education and recommended a cap on the screen time for students.

Highlights from guidelines
•    PRAGYATA guidelines have been developed from the perspective of learners, with a focus on online/blended/digital education for students, who are learning from home due to lockdown.
•    The guidelines include eight steps of online education that is, Plan, Review, Arrange, Guide, Yak(talk), Assign, Track, and Appreciate.
•    These guidelines on e-learning provide a roadmap or pointers for carrying forward online education to enhance the quality of learning.
•    As per the guidelines, online classes for pre-primary students should not be more than 30 minutes. It further mentions that two online sessions of up to 30-45 minutes each should be conducted for classes 1 to 8 and four sessions for classes 9 to 12.
•    The guidelines are relevant and useful for a diverse set of stakeholders including school heads, teachers, parents, teacher educators and students.
•    The guidelines stresses upon the use of alternative academic calendar of NCERT, for both, learners having access to digital devices and learners having limited or no access.

    These guidelines for school heads and teachers describe the need assessment, planning and steps to implement digital education while ensuring cyber safety and privacy measures.
    It outlines the support to be provided to students with special needs. Main emphasis is on balanced online and offline activities keeping the screen time as an essential parameter in accordance with the level of students.
    For parents, the guideline helps to understand the need for physical, mental health and wellbeing along with the cyber safety measures for children at home.
    Physical health and mental wellness is stressed for all stakeholders so that children do not get overly stretched or stressed, or get affected negatively (postural defects, ophthalmic issues, and other physical problems) owing to prolonged use of digital devices.
    Provides sufficient do’s and don’ts regarding ergonomics and cyber safety.
    Emphasize the need to unify all efforts related to digital education, benefitting school going children.
    The initiative includes DIKSHA, SWAYAM Prabha, SWAYAM MOOCS, Radio Vahini, ShikshaVaani, Special content for children with special needs and ITPAL.

In a country like India characterized by multifarious diversity, switching over to digital modes of education needs various States, UTs level organization and National level organizations to join hands for a change that will sustain post-COVID-19 also.