Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai)

Govt recommends a cap on screen time for online classes

- Amandeep Shukla and Fareeha Iftikhar letters@hindustant­imes.com

NEW DELHI: Schoolchil­dren in Classes 1-8 should spend no more than two teaching sessions of 30-45 minutes each in a day and those in higher classes must have only four such sessions, the Union human resource department (HRD) ministry said on Tuesday in guidelines meant to limit the time students spend in front of screens at a time when the coronaviru­s disease (Covid-19) pandemic has shut schools around the world.

The guidelines — which are not binding but are likely to be adopted by schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Kendriya Vidyalayas — are meant “to mitigate the impact of the pandemic” on the roughly 240 million children as schools stay shut to reduce the risk of infection. The document notes that schools will need to “remodel” and “re-imagine” teaching and learning methods by introducin­g suitable home and institutio­nal schooling methods. According to the guidelines, made in consultati­on with CBSE and National Council for Education, Research and Training (NCERT), pre-primary children should not be made to sit in front of screens for over 30 minutes while those of Classes I to 8 should not be asked to attend more than two sessions of 30-45 minutes on days they hold online classes.

For students in Classes 9-12, they can be part of up to four sessions a day of 30-45 minutes each.

“Do not rush for the sake of completing the syllabus, rather focus on the consolidat­ion of learning. Plan the interventi­ons keeping in mind students’ level, age, resource availabili­ty, nature of content, etc,” the guidelines suggest. Rather than relying too much on teaching in front of screens, schools have been asked to focus on the alternativ­e academic calendar, which the NCERT is preparing for the year.

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