While the special committee’s report allows online classes to be conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, it urges schools to make use of non-technological interventions. Committee member have suggested other options that school managements can use, such as worksheets and activity sheets that will enable a more hands-on approach to learning.

It also urged schools to re-examine the syllabus and revise the curriculum in the backdrop of the pandemic and resulting restrictions. “The standard syllabus should not be transacted as is. Alternative academic syllabus, calendar and timetable has to be created by every school,” said the report.

Teachers should be encouraged to help each and every child create a portfolio of the sessions he or she has attended, activities done, project work attempted, notes on books read and information from newspapers. A member of the committee told The Hindu that these should form a significant part of continuous and comprehensive evaluation.

Addressing the digital divide

In its report, the committee stated that other modes of teaching should also be used as the Department of Primary and Secondary Education’s survey in June 2020 had revealed smartphone and internet access is not available to a large section of students.

In Karnataka, only 58.4% of households with students in classes I to V have access to smartphones and the internet. In grades VI to VIII, it is 57.5% and the figure is 63.8% for those in classes IX and X. In districts such as Yadgir and Chamarajnagar, more than half of the students do not have access to such facilities.

In this context, the committee has recommended that the Department of Primary and Secondary Education re-launch its television and radio broadcasts, and curate “meaningful teaching learning material to suit the current times”.

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