New Delhi, Sept 5, 2021: The Covid-19 pandemic has severely affected the physical form of education. When stepping onto the streets can become life-threatening, the government made drastic decisions to lockdown those centres of learning for the safety of the youth. However, the substitute that came on in the form of online education never proved enough or satisfactory. An ambition to improve the quality, standard and efficiency of online education, promising the safety and academic welfare of students especially in the prevailing pandemic governed the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s decision to release the Pragyata guidelines on digital education.
Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, released the eight-step guide on online education on July 14, 2020, which is, Plan- Review- Arrange- Guide- Yak (talk)- Assign- Track- Appreciate (PRAGYATA).
What are PRAGYATA Guidelines?
Affecting schools and students across the globe, the COVID-19 pandemic has been a menace on the education system. In India alone, over 240 million children have had to face a negative impact of the pandemic in terms of education. With an aim to overcome loses faced by schools or the children, the Government of India had initiated the Digital India campaign for a conducive environment for moving towards digital education. Pragyata guidelines have been issued keeping in mind the overall development of the students by precisely aiming to cut down undue screen time.
The guidelines will be relevant and useful for a diverse set of stakeholders including school heads, teachers, parents, teacher educators and students. The guidelines stress upon the use of an alternative academic calendar of NCERT, for both, learners having access to digital devices and learners having limited or no access.
Steps under Pragyata guidelines
The Pragyata guidelines include eight steps of digital learning. These steps guide the planning and implementation of digital education step by step. Discussed below are the same:
1. Plan – A draft to achieve better face-to-face teaching experience, planning is extremely important. This planning must be done considering a few common factors:
1.Number of students in each class
2.Age and class of children
3.Learning styles of children
4.Nature of subject
5.Accessibility of digital devices with children, teachers, schools and all other resources
6.Duration of classes
7.Types of assignment and assessment
2. Review – Identification and availability of tools and resources required for conducting online classes. This also includes reviewing the plan in terms of the duration of each class, cybersecurity, methods of assessment, etc.
3.Arrange – Collecting all the resources and arrangement and organisation of daily/weekly classes
4. Guide – Keeping everyone involved well informed is very important. Thus, the school must guide the teachers and they must further guide the students/parents about the themes, topics, assessments, etc.
5.Yak (Talk) – During guidance, teachers must talk or discuss things clearly with the parents and their wards
6. Assign – Assigning group activities or individual assignments, depending upon the technological tools available with the children
7. Track – To ensure that the students do not lose interest in studying virtually, teachers must track their development and assignments through suitable means
8. Appreciate – Acknowledgement in any field is necessary and extremely productive in fueling morale. Motivating children for their performance boosts their confidence and also builds interest in the work they are doing. So, teachers must praise the students to ensure that online education does not become demotivating.
Guidelines for school heads, teachers and parents
Pragyata guidelines also hold specific points for school heads, teachers, parents and students. A set of specific guidelines have also been released for school heads, teachers, parents and students under the Pragyata guidelines:
1. Need assessment
2. Challenges faced during planning online and digital education like duration, screen time, inclusiveness, balanced online and offline activities
3. Modalities of intervention including resource curation, level-wise delivery etc.
4. Physical, mental health and wellbeing during digital education
5. Cyber safety and ethical practices including precautions and measures for maintaining cyber safety
6. Collaboration and convergence with various initiatives
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Digital education in India
The technique or method in education and learning that involves and makes use of technology in the form of digital devices, as the vehicle of information is called digital education. This is a new and broad technical sphere that shall help any student attain knowledge and gain information from any corner across the country. It is believed that digital education in India is the future of education and learning.