New Delhi: The HRD Ministry on Tuesday announced guidelines for online classes by schools and recommended a cap on duration and the number of sessions in a day for students. The guidelines have been framed by the ministry, following concerns raised by parents about schools conducting online classes like regular schools, which has increased children''s screen time after the COVID-19 pandemic mandated a shift from classroom teaching to online learning as schools continue to remain shut for over four months. In the guideline called "Pragyata", the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has recommended that the duration for online classes for pre-primary students should not be for more than 30 minutes. For classes 1 to 8, the HRD Ministry has recommended two online sessions of up to 45 minutes each while for classes 9 to 12, four sessions of 30-45 minutes duration have been recommended. "The COVID-19 pandemic has led to closure of schools and has impacted over 240 million children of the country who are enrolled in schools. Extended school closures may cause loss of learning. "To mitigate the impact of the pandemic, schools will not only have to remodel and reimagine the way teaching and learning have happened so far, but will also need to introduce a suitable method of delivering quality education through a healthy mix of schooling at home and schooling at school," HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ''Nishank'' said. He said that the guidelines have been made with a focus on online education for students who are at home. "The guidelines have been developed from the perspective of learners, with a focus on online, blended, digital education for students who are presently at home due to the lockdown.These guidelines on digital education provide a roadmap or pointers for carrying forward online education to enhance the quality of education," Nishank added. Universities and schools across the country have been shut since March 16, when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as part of measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. A nationwide lockdown was announced on March 24, which came into effect the next day. While the government has largely eased restrictions, schools and colleges continue to remain closed.
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