Pokhriyal reviews education strategy during COVID with states; seeks suggestions on pending class 12 board exams

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New Delhi, May 17 (PTI) Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal on Monday chaired a review meeting with the education secretaries of states and UTs to discuss various measures adopted for the management of the education system during COVID, strategies adopted for online and offline learning in schools so far and the way forward.

According to officials, the issue of pending class 12 board exams also came up for discussion and suggestions were sought from states in this regard.

The CBSE has already announced that a review will be done on or after June 1 and a decision will be taken on the pending board exams. Class 10 exams have already been cancelled and a marking policy has been announced. A section of parents and students has been demanding that class 12 exams be cancelled and a similar marking strategy be adopted.

The Education Minister in the meeting stated that despite the pandemic, the Centre and the states, as well as agencies like the National Testing Agency (NTA), have managed to deliver education online as well as conduct public exams such as JEE and NEET-UG.

'Our efforts and commitment ensured continuance of education for 240 million students enrolled in our schools and colleges. We have been successful in transforming our homes into classrooms in these unprecedented times. We have also set an example of ensuring that no student faced a year loss,' he said.

The minister called for cooperation and a united fight against the pandemic while citing that the country is in the middle of the second wave, which is an even bigger challenge than last.

'The second wave has forced the education institutions to remain close for a longer period. While we have ensured that students are learning at home through various initiatives, we should focus on the needs of the aspirational districts where there is a digital gap so that we can empower the local bodies, NGOs and the parents and teachers,' he said. Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre stressed on exploring ways to provide hybrid education comprising of both offline and online teaching methods.

'For this we would need new learning methodologies, quality learning content and evaluation assessment model. The scientific temperament of students will play a deciding role in post COVID world therefore education system of our country should focus on developing critical thinking ability, logical reasoning ability and scientific temper among students,' he said. Schools across the country were closed in March last year to contain the spread of COVID-19 ahead of a nationwide lockdown.

Several states started reopening the schools partially from October last year, but physical classes were again suspended because of the rise in coronavirus cases.

Last year, the board exams had to be postponed mid-way in March. They were later cancelled and the results were announced based on an alternative assessment scheme.

India's COVID-19 tally mounted to 2,49,65,463 on Monday with 2,81,386 fresh cases, the lowest in 27 days, while the death toll climbed to 2,74,390 as 4,106 more people succumbed to the disease, according to Union health ministry data. PTI GJS GJS RT RT