Reduction in syllabus and instructional hours

Union Minister of Human Resource Development Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ said in a tweet that the centre is planning to contemplate the option of reduction in syllabus and instructional hours for the coming academic session. The ministry also appealed teachers, academicians, and educationalists to share their point of view on the sudden crisis. COVID-19 has shaken the grounds of existing procedures in the country in the area of academics and education. Universities and schools across the country have been closed since March 16, when the Central Government announced a nation-wide lockdown as a measure to reduce and limit the growth of COVID-19 in the country. The running CBSE class10 &12 was also halted as an emergency measure. Any sudden and unplanned change in the academic schedule has the potential to create chaos and commotion. Hence Manoj Ahuja recently stated that ”We cannot bring sudden changes in the education system and create confusion and uncertainty. The curriculum reforms are going to be in sync with the learning outcomes”. To make up for the loss caused by the pandemic the ministry thus, plans in reduction of the academic syllabus. This was brought in light after a day after Manish Sisodia, deputy chief minister and education minister of Delhi, requested him to reduce the syllabus by 30%. It is a well known fact that online classes can never be seen as a replacement of learning on campus or in school. ”First of all, we need to assure every child irrespective of age and social class that they are important to us and all of them have equal right to the physical and intellectual space of their schools. The notion of online teaching or older children coming to school first and not the youngest ones should be put to rest”, said Mr. Sisodia.

Online classes

The trend of online classes flourished in the wake of the pandemic. Slowly but constantly schools and colleges started conducting classes online. Despite being a substitute and seemingly fulfilling the purpose, online classes does very little to online education. There are various reasons for the incompetency of online classes, the very first being Internet connectivity. The Indian internet penetration rate in the country stood at around 50% IN 2020. Recently, a girl from Kerala committed suicide due to lack of resources in accessing online classes. This case highlights the inadequacy of online educational infrastructure in the nation. Reasons like slow internet connection adds more to the perils. Apart from this basic deficiency, online classes cannot compensate for the lack of school education especially for kids because of potential dangers of internet exposure. Conducting a fair and systematic exams online will moreover become a herculean task for the academic institutions. Lack of accreditation and low quality also makes certain online courses less reliable and authentic. Online education creates a monologue and not a real dialogue between the instructor and the student and the monologue lacks in a personalised conversation leading to lack of interest. Online education also leads to increase in screen time which carries along numerous health issues from eyes to the spinal cord. It requires an increased requirement of self-direction too. Despite the potential pitfalls, online education has become popular because of the flexibility it offers and especially because of non-availability of traditional and conventional methods of teaching.