The Central government has decided to stick to schedule and start the 2020-21 academic session for schools from the first week of April through online classes. If the Covid-19 lockdown is lifted by mid-April, the government is also looking at conducting the remaining Class 10 and Class 12 board exams in the first week of May.

Amit Khare, Secretary, Human Resource Development (HRD), told ThePrint that the government is making arrangements to launch the new session online in the first week of April.

Fresh academic sessions begin in the first week of April, but the Covid-19 lockdown, which has led schools and colleges around the country to shut down, stoked fears of a delay this year. 

The government had instructed the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to keep an alternative academic calendar ready, but this plan appears to have been junked. 

“Classes will start online from the first week of April, to commence the new academic session. We will begin this process with Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)-affiliated schools and states can join in gradually,” said Khare.

“Some schools have already started their classes online,” he added.

In order to start classes online, schools will be advised to follow the SWAYAM TV channels run by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), an HRD-operated portal that offers open-learning material for students at the pre-degree level. The channels, available on direct-to-home (DTH) networks, currently offer content for classes 9-12.

The NIOS has been asked to add content for junior classes too.

Some schools are also developing content on their own and trying to make use of government platforms such as DIKSHA and the NCERT E-pathshala, which are available as apps as well as websites. 

“We have already begun preparations to impart lessons through online mode to our students,” said Ashok Pandey, the director of Ahlcon Group of Schools in Delhi. “For that, we are first training our teachers because online teaching and learning is a very new concept. Our teachers need to be ready for that first,” he said.

“Simultaneously, the teachers are also working on curating online content for students, so that some lessons can be imparted,” he added.

This mode of teaching is expected to help launch the new academic sessions for all students barring those in classes 10-12, who are yet to finish writing their board exams.

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