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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 09 June, 2021

  • 15 Min Read

PRAGYATA': Guidelines on Digital Education

PRAGYATA': Guidelines on Digital Education

Union HRD Ministry released ‘PRAGYATA’: Guidelines on #DigitalEducation for school heads, teachers, parents, and students. The guidelines are based on four guiding principles, stipulating that all resources must be perceivable, operable, understandable and robust for disabled students.

Provisions:

  • The ministry has recommended a cap on the screen time for students.
  • As per the guidelines, online classes for pre-primary students should not be for 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 PRAGYATA guidelines include eight steps of online education that is, Plan, Review, Arrange, Guide, Yak(talk), Assign, Track, and Appreciate.

The guidelines outline suggestions for administrators, school heads, teachers, parents, and students in the following areas:

  • Need assessment
  • Concerns while planning online and digital education like duration, screen time, inclusiveness, balanced online and offline activities, etc level-wise
  • Modalities of intervention including resource curation, level-wise delivery, etc.
  • Physical, mental health, and wellbeing during digital education
  • Cyber safety and ethical practices including precautions and measures for maintaining cyber safety
  • Collaboration and convergence with various initiatives: To mitigate the impact of the pandemic, schools will not only have to remodel and re-imagine 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.
  • They recommend that all textbooks be made digitally accessible in a phased manner, so that they are available in multiple formats such as text, audio, video and sign language with turn-on and turn-off features. Detailed technical standards have been provided.
  • The closure of regular schools and learning centres due to COVID-19 has led to special difficulties for many disabled children.
  • For instance, a recent study by the Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy showed that more than half of the NCERT textbooks available on the government’s virtual education platform DIKSHA were not accessible for visually impaired students.
  • The guidelines provide strategies to produce supplementary content for varying disabilities, including students who face visual and hearing challenges, those on the autism spectrum, those with intellectual or special learning disabilities, and those with multiple disabilities.
  • They note that learning activities must include audio, visual and tactile experiences, while evaluation must be multimodal.
  • Ironically enough, while the guidelines call for the use of image descriptions wherever pictures are used in order to be accessible to visually challenged students using screen readers, this is not even followed by the guidelines document itself, according to Muralidharan, secretary, National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled.

Way Forward

The guidelines do include an implementation roadmap. The next steps are the nomination of an expert technical team to update the DIKSHA platform, followed by training and development of prototypes of the accessible digital textbooks.

Source: TH


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