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मंदार शिंदे
Mandar Shinde

Monday, January 31, 2022

Bridge courses, mental well-being part of state roadmap for learning

Bridge courses, mental well-being part of state roadmap for learning
Jan 31, 2022 | THE TIMES OF INDIA

The focus in the next academic year would not be limited to just improving the fundamental learning objectives of the students, but also helping them with their mental well-being.

While another learning loss survey would be conducted to gauge where the students stand so that a roadmap can be prepared for what more needs to be done to bridge courses as well as for planning extra classes, there would also be programmes to mentor children and help them tide over the two years of gap in offline education they encountered, officials from the education department said.

Apart from this, the state has also planned to reduce drop-out rate and encourage girls’ education by adding standards VIII to XII in neighbourhood schools where classes are only up to Std VII.

The change would be reflected in the textbooks itself as bilingual textbooks are being introduced to improve student engagement and language skills.

“From next year, we will introduce a single textbook formula to reduce the weight of school bags carried by students every day. This will be introduced in Std I from the academic year 2022-23 and will be implemented for all primary classes later. Once the new State Curriculum Framework is designed, work will also be cut out for us to revive the textbooks as per the new Education Policy,” Krishnakumar Patil, director of Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production & Curriculum Research (Balbharati), said.

Unlike this year, when students received the textbooks months after the academic year began, they will be delivered on time, Patil added.

Vikas Garad, deputy director of State Council of Educational Research and Training, said that the next academic year will focus on introducing more co-curricular activities for better interaction between pupil and teachers as well as among pupils. The focus will also be on a robust assessment process, and more emphasis on the mental well-being of the child.

“As you know due to online education, there is limited teacher-pupil interaction and there is almost no peer learning. We are seeing a trend where students are lagging not just in classwise learning objectives, but also behaviourally, there are some drawbacks. Our priority is that in the coming years, we would try to bring things back to normal and in this project, we would also seek help from child psychologists, counsellors, NGOs and interested parties. A school is like a small ecosystem where the student gets to learn life skills too. While academics is a major part of it, so are things like working in a team, accepting failure, helping each other, working with people from different backgrounds and thinking processes which we learn along the way in schools. We also need to inculcate reading habits in them and de-addicted from online devices. We need to make them listen, ask questions, seek answers and so on. So various co-curricular activities are also planned,” Garad said.

Garad said that a learning loss survey would be done to understand the lacunae and accordingly bridge courses would be suggested. With the possibility of another session on online learning, Garad said that classwise, chapter wise videos are also on the cards which will be uploaded on the YouTube channel of SCERT so that every student can access it whenever they want for free.

There will also be a survey on out-of-school children so that proper measures can be taken to bring them back, said Vishal Solanki, commissioner of education.

“Only when the physical schools start regularly will we be able to authentically conduct a survey on out-of-school children. Secondly, we already had discussions with many NGOs and others regarding sex education in schools pre-pandemic. It is important to impart age-appropriate sex education in all schools and efforts would be taken to introduce affective measures. The talks are also on introducing free channels for class I to XII so that students can learn from TV in an audio-visual mode,” Solanki added.

Setting it right

• More focus is required on developing literacy skills, particularly for the students from Std I to III

• Textbooks and other learning material should be made available to all the students on time

• Textbooks and workbooks should have more detailed instructions for self-learning

• Good quality digital content should be designed in the regional language

• Satellite education centres should be started in communities, equipped with digital devices and learning material for children

• Sports, arts and other activities should be encouraged at a community level

• Resources like sports equipment, art and craft material, etc. should be made available at the community level

•Out-of-school children surveys should be carried out more seriously to understand the impacts of pandemic, lockdown, migration, school closure, on education of children, especially girls

- Mandar Shinde, Convenor of Action for Rights of Children