Govt committee to decide on reopening of edu institutions

No fund to give mobile gadgets to students: Rymbui

SHILLONG: The state Education department will come up with a policy document on reopening of educational institutions in the state post the COVID-19 lockdown.
Informing this in the Assembly on Friday, Chief Minister Conrad Sangma said that the state government has formed a committee to frame the policy document.
The committee, headed by NEHU Vice Chancellor, Prof SK Srivastava, and officials from both NEHU and MBoSE, will suggest the safety measures to be adopted by the Education department for reopening of all institutions.
The committee will also review and prepare a new academic curriculum from Class I to XII by taking into consideration the amount of time that has been lost due to the prevailing situation.
The chief minister further informed that the committee will prepare an action plan on imparting of knowledge with focus on remote and distance learning modes.
“We will continue with our collaboration with Doordarshan Kendra Shillong to impart education to students by telecasting educational video,” Sangma added.
Earlier, Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui informed that the state government has no plan to provide the students with mobile gadgets to help them cope with the new method of online learning.
Replying to a question raised by Congress MLA from Rangsakona, Zenith Sangma during the question hour in the Assembly, Rymbui said ) the government does not have the resources since it will need Rs 200 crore if they have to provide 9,21,461 students with gadgets costing Rs 2000 per unit.
To a supplementary question by Zenith whether the government can consider providing gadgets to the students from Class IX to Class XII, Rymbui said the state government would need to spend Rs 150 crore if they have to provide the gadgets at subsidised rates.
He further said even if the government is able to provide the gadgets, the students will require internet data to access online teaching content.
According to Rymbui, there are many students who will not have access to internet data since the 4G connection is not available throughout the state.
He added that the gadgets will be of no use if the students do not have access to internet data.
The education minister also said there is digital disparity among the haves and have nots.
According to him, even the teachers are finding difficult to adapt to this new method of teaching while asserting that online teaching will not be to replicate class room teachings.
He further informed that the budget earmarked for the education department during the current fiscal is Rs 2525 crore adding that the department will face difficulty to meet its various current commitments.
On the question of providing financial support to the private-run schools, the education minister said the government understands the problem faced by the private schools in view of the current pandemic situation.
“We have already made an assessment on the difficulties faced by the private schools. We will be able to decide on a way out to help private schools within the next one or two days,” he said.
He said besides Doordarshan, AIR was also roped in by the government to impart classes to the students.

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