Ever since the pandemic started and later appeared in India, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Ministry of Home Affairs have been in news due to obvious reasons of a health crisis in the country and nation-wide lockdown measures. Government of India has been working day and night with extreme measures and care to ensure minimum damage to the lives of people due to the global outbreak of coronavirus. Though unabated efforts of every ministry and unit are appreciable, I wish to highlight why the Ministry of Human Resources Development is a COVID warrior in disguise.
At times when MHA is ensuring the minimum transmission of the disease and MoHFW is ensuring maximum recovery of lives, MHRD is ensuring sound mental wellbeing of around one-fourth of the population directly and of rest indirectly, in addition to ensuring learning continuity, accessibility and digital equity.
MHRD, under the able guidance of Minister Dr Pokhriyal, has been working hard on integration of technology in education through various initiatives such as Operation Digital Board, E-Pathshala, DIKSHA, VIDYADAAN, SWAYAM, SWAYAM PRABHA and #BharatPadheOnline. These platforms ensured ample learning material and sources for students all across the nation to continue with their regular schooling digitally. SWAYAM PRABHA, a kind of an initiative, allows 24X7 access to video lectures on 32 DTH Channels.
Despite so many platforms to ensure learning continuity during the lockdown period, MHRD felt that accessibility and digital equity is a major concern. To sort it out, NCERT has recently signed an MoU with Rotary International to develop e-learning material to telecast on all NCERT TV and Radio Channels for all levels. This will allow learning to travel efficiently in rural routes, where the availability of gadgets and internet connectivity is an issue. Availability of content in regional languages will further add to learning friendliness.
Ensuring learning continuity and accessibility, even in the remotest areas of India, is a big success for MHRD and must be acknowledged. These efforts have not only kept schooling continue but have effectively engaged student and teaching community in constructive distractions away from anxiety and emotional stress due to the pandemic. Diverting tender minds from a psychological crisis and involving them in productive learnings and innovations is a big challenge to achieve in a population of 1.3 Billion and MHRD is doing exceptionally well.
MHRD in collaboration with the Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs floated a digital version of Fit India Movement to promote fitness among students through indoor games and exercises. This not only maintained physical stamina and helped boost immunity, but also ensured sound mental well-being and good family time.
Central Board of Secondary Education cited lockdown as “Golden Period” as the board in an endeavour to help teachers who are facing disruption in education due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, launched a free online teacher training certificate program that can be taken by educators. These online real-time training programs conducted by experts are turning out to be highly efficient as it rightly targets convenience, scalability and adaptability. The academic unit of CBSE has floated various initiatives and platforms to ensure that the right content reaches students at the right time. The academic restructuring will ensure minimum loss to learning and academics all across India.
Ministry of Human Resource Development has left no stone unturned to ensure that children, even in the remotest area of rural India, are left unconnected to regular schooling. With such diversity and vastness in India, comes bigger obstacles. MHRD has worked and is continuously engaged in challenging these obstacles during the pandemic. I am sure the digital revolution that MHRD has established will go a long way in defining Post COVID New India.
Written By :
Principal (Mount Abu School, Delhi)
Jyoti Arora is Principal at Mount Abu Public School, Delhi and also an elected Governing Body Member of Central Board of Secondary Education. She has been awarded the CBSE National Teachers Award for her relentless efforts in the field of school education. As an expert on education and related industries, she has authored many newspaper articles and has participated in various panel discussions across the country and abroad. She is also heading Indraprastha Schools Sahodaya as President and Delhi Schools Sahodaya Complex as Vice President, which are clusters of more than 120 CBSE affiliated schools in Delhi NCR.