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August 11, 2020 Tuesday 12:52:18 PM IST

Initiatives taken by Ministry of Education during the CoVID- 19 pandemic

Policy Indications

Union Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ explains the initiatives taken by the Ministry of Education during the Covid-19 pandemic:

  • Mid-Day Meal: States and UTs were advised to provide Mid Day Meal or its equivalent Food Security allowances inclusive of Food grains and cooking cost to meet the nutrition requirement of the eligible children in order to safeguard their immunity during the closure of schools due to COVID pandemic.
  • In view of providing all children school education at home using alternative ways maintaining joyful learning approach with the participation of their parents under the guidance of teachers, the NCERT has come out with Alternative Academic Calendar for across four stages- Primary, Upper Primary, Secondary and Higher Secondary.
  • To avoid the disruption in studies and learning of children of migrant labours, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has prepared a set of guidelines for the States and UTs so that the challenges thrown by the pandemic do not stop the continuous learning of any student. For States/UTs where there is more in-migration/influx, the State government may direct all schools to give admission to any child who has recently returned back to the village without asking for any other documents, except some identity proof. They should not ask for transfer certificates or proof of class attended earlier. The information provided by the child’s parents may be assumed to be correct and taken as such for giving admission to the child in the relevant class in his/her neighborhood government/government-aided school.
  • The Department of School Education and Literacy released PRAGYATA Guidelines on Digital Education through online medium. It provides a roadmap or pointers for carrying forward online education to enhance the quality of education. The guidelines will be relevant and useful for a diverse set of stakeholders including school heads, teachers, parents, teacher educators and students.
  • The spacious premises of 230 KendriyaVidyalayas and 570 Jawahar NavodyaVidhyalayas were handed over to Defence authorities, Paramilitary forces and State Governments for the purpose of quarantining the corona suspects, housing the migrant labourers and camping the temporary deployment of paramilitary forces. 
  • India is being promoted as a global study destination providing premium education at affordable costs and restoring its role as a Viswa Guru. 35,500 students registered under Study in India for 2020-21. 1,452 foreign faculties visited India for delivering the courses.
  • Ind-SAT exam is launched to offer scholarships to the students coming to India for which 2000 scholarship positions are provisioned.  Under Champion Service Sector Scheme (CSSS) Rs. 710.35 Cr is allocated over five years (till 2023-24) for scholarships, infrastructure and bridge courses.
  •  All the HEIs have come forward and contributed towards making Atmanirbhar Bharat solving various challenges that have come before us in the CoVID-19 pandemic. The premier institutes of the nation have come up with a myriad of innovative measures to tackle the pernicious situation which has made an unparalleled impact globally. From research to rescue, our HEIs have shown a great degree of responsibility by contributing in different dimensions to combat the CoVID-19 challenge.   Hackathons such as Drug Discovery Hackathon, ‘Fight Corona IDEAthon’ and Smart India Hackathon are being conducted.
  • MHRD has launched COROSURE - Researchers at IIT Delhi Kusuma School of Biological Science (KSBS) have developed a detection assay for COVID-19 which has been approved by ICMR. The assay has been validated at ICMR with a sensitivity and specificity of 100%. This makes IITD the first academic institute to have obtained ICMR approval for a real time PCR based diagnostic assay. The frugal CoVID-19 testing kit developed by IIT Delhi is a great example of PPP.
  • Be it ventilators, testing kits, mask production, sanitizer units mobile based contact tracking applications, various web-portals for resource mobilization, our HEIs have done world class work.  IIT Roorkee has developed a low-cost ventilator Prana-Vayu.  IIT Kanpur has started an indigenous mask production facility. Covid19 Test Bus developed by IIT Alumni has been launched in Maharashtra. Ample work is being done across IITs, IIITs, NITs and IISERs.

The Minister also highlighted that National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aims to revamp all aspects of India’s education system that were in place over three decades and bring it closer to the best global standards of education. The NEP has maintained a balance between the traditions and the interdisciplinary approach. The NEP is a blend of tools enabling the students to compete with the global world, as well as to grasp the Bharat centric values, culture, and languages. Most importantly, the NEP has a clear vision and defined objectives. He added that the NEP is the most planned comprehensive and exhaustive document which aims at ensuring the overall development of the students to prepare them to compete with the global world while preserving their Bharat centric values, ethics, and culture.Since education is a concurrent, the NEP only provides broad directions. The reforms proposed can only be implemented collaboratively by the Centre and the states.