With academics brought to an indefinite halt with the spread of the coronavirus, the School Education Department of Maharashtra has been striving to eliminate educational loss to students. In view of this, the department has decided to begin the new academic year across all schools in Maharashtra, starting from 15 June 2020, regardless of whether schools will open or not. “Academic Session will begin on 15 June irrespective of whether the schools start or not. Wherever they cannot, in the red zone or other places, we will use digital media to reach out,” an official from the department said.
However, this doesn’t necessarily mean the opening of schools in the state. While in the green zones of the state, schools are likely to open, red zones will have to manage with digital education. “These decisions will be made at the district level, depending on what the district collector and SMCs decide,” he added.
The Decision To Re-Start Classroom Sessions Not Taken Yet
The decision pertaining to the physical opening has not been confirmed yet. The decision is, on the other hand, to start the education digitally without fail as per the usual academic calendar. This means that the students are expected to start their digital academic year with studies on 15 June, which will be the only alternative to combat academic loss. However, the schools in the Vidarbha region are set to open only by 26 June. “We are starting the academic year from 15 June. We will try to reach out to children digitally and study them. Transportation of textbooks is permitted.
Therefore, we are trying to distribute as many textbooks as possible before 15 June.” said the Commissioner Mr. Vishal Solanki. This is in response to the instructions from the Chief Minister, Uddhav Thackeray to the school education department on steps to explore digital education and expanding it productively. He has also suggested providing students with tablets with storage cards, approaching television channels, and consulting mobile companies for further decisions.
Government Reveals Details Regarding The Decision
“Our focus right now is to first begin the learning process for each child. We already run programs on DD Sahyadri. We have sought to run them on two more channels. If we are able to link content to the TV, we hope to connect to students who have left the state to go to their native place,” added another official.
Mr. Thackeray has also pointed out that the schools and their management committees should be informed clearly about the conduct of classes in shifts or one standard per day. The health department is responsible for ensuring that the students and the teachers are healthy once the classes commence. Anti-bacterial handwash solutions should also be made available in all schools. Decisions on reducing the curriculum have also been put to discussion.
However, there has been no decision or update from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, MHA, regarding the opening of the schools or colleges spread all over the country. The ministry had taken to Twitter to debunk all the false information that was spreading concerns among the students with regard to the opening of schools and colleges.