Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai)



Children exposed to digital technologi­es or gadgets for a longer time are prone to severe health issues, officials and past research has said, prompting authoritie­s to look for ways in which exposure to digital gadgets can be avoided by designing ageappropr­iate schedules.

HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said the guidelines, titled PRAGYATA, have been developed from the perspectiv­e of learners, with a focus on online, blended or digital education for students who are presently at home.

A CBSE official, who asked not to be named, said the board “takes all directions from the HRD ministry seriously and implements them with sincerity even if they are of an advisory nature”.

Some of the other aspects of the guidelines describe the need for assessment, planning and steps to implement digital education while ensuring cyber safety and privacy measures. It also outlines the support to be provided to students with special needs.

For parents, the guidelines focus on understand­ing the need for physical, mental health and wellbeing along with the cyber safety measures for children at home.

While parents welcomed the HRD ministry’s new guidelines on capping the screen timing, school principals and students expressed mixed reactions.

CR Park resident Rupa, who goes only by her first name and has a son in nursery, said: “I don’t mind classes every day but I definitely wanted reduced timings. While the online sessions are a good guide for parents, we want our son to continue doing activities under teacher’s guidance as younger children are more likely to listen to their teachers, especially if they are studying at home.”

Kavita Arora, whose daughter is a Class 6 student at a south Delhi private school, said: “The reduced timings won’t affect their education much because they have been submitting multiple assignment­s anyway. The guidelines are welcome because my daughter was complainin­g of headaches and irritation in her eyes. We had to visit an eye specialist and there were several children there indicating that increased screen time was leading to a lot of problems. We hope the school implements this quickly.”

Several school principals said that the capping of screen timing was essential. “It is important to have some capping on the screen timing. The screen time should be a time which is productive. Listening to classes hours after hours is not productive. We have been following quite a similar time frame for online classes even now. This capping of screen timing will also allow teachers and students to balance the online and offline activities taking place simultaneo­usly,” said Amita Wattal, principal of Springdale­s School in Pusa Road.

Jyoti Arora, principal of Mount Abu Public School in Rohini, said that the new screen timing is fine for junior classes but it can be a challenge for senior classes. “For primary and upper primary classes there could be recorded videos which the students can access any time. There are certain topics which can be converted into activities and we can just brief students about it and they can do it at home. This way, children will also get an opportunit­y to do some research. However, for senior classes from 9 to 12, schools will need some more time. We have lots of syllabus to finish and there is also a requiremen­t of extra explanatio­ns from teachers’ side,” she said.

Darshan Ram, a Class 12 student at Bluebells School Internatio­nal in Kailash Colony, also said that 30 to 45 minutes for a session will be too less for students of senior classes. “Currently, we are having one hour-long three sessions a day. So if we cut down the duration to 45 minutes we will not get time for any kind of discussion,” he said.

Springs, Gogra and Depsang plains, apart from emphasisin­g the need for thinning the military build-up in the region.

The military build-up in Indian and Chinese depth areas hasn’t thinned, with both sides keeping their guard up. The deployment of thousands of soldiers, fighter jets, helicopter­s, tanks, artillery guns, missile systems and air defence weapons continues in the region.

The PLA pulled back 2km from Patrolling Point 14 (Galwan Valley), PP-15 (Hot Springs) and PP-17 (Gogra) last week, with the Indian Army also withdrawin­g proportion­ately in these areas. The army is keeping a strict vigil along the contested border in the Depsang sector where the PLA’S forward presence is a matter of serious concern. be a safe substance and is harmless to humans. This Titanium Dioxide coating [will be] applied on washbasins, lavatory, seats & berths, snack table, glass window, floor, virtually every surface that comes in human contact.”

The effective life of this coating is expected to be a year. The railways will also manufactur­e all new coaches with these technical specificat­ions. “All future coach production will have these features. For existing coaches, too, we will try to retrofit wherever it is technicall­y possible. The same was also done for bio toilets, which were retrofitte­d in existing coaches,” an official said on condition of anonymity. urgent cases through a videoconfe­rencing app called VIDYO in March. The volume of cases taken up on a daily basis has been less in the past three months.beginning March 23, the SC took up close to 7,000 cases till June 20.

Beginning this week, the Supreme Court has listed Constituti­on Bench matters for hearing as well. With the pandemic showing no signs of let up there is uncertaint­y over when physical court hearings can resume.

The Constituti­on Bench heard and reserved judgment in the first case it took up through videoconfe­rencing .

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