Coronavirus impact: 2020-21 to be zero academic year? Education ministry says no

By: |
August 11, 2020 11:45 AM

A zero academic year is one during which no academic activities are conducted, including exams and classes.

As of now, the institutions would remain closed at least till the end of August.As of now, the institutions would remain closed at least till the end of August.

Coronavirus impact: The Union Ministry of Education will not be declaring the academic year 2020-21 a “zero academic year” due to the coronavirus pandemic. The possibility was ruled out during a Parliamentary Standing Committee meeting on Human Resource Development which was held on Monday, according to a report by IE. The report stated that while answering the queries raised by the MPs about classes, university admissions and exams, Secretary of Higher Education Amit Khare said that the new batch of students would likely be joining by November-December and classes and examinations for the students currently enrolled would also be conducted.

A zero academic year is one during which no academic activities are conducted, including exams and classes.

The meeting was aimed at discussing the digital education initiatives undertaken due to the coronavirus pandemic-induced nationwide lockdown. The meeting was also attended by University Grants Commission (UGC) Chairman DP Singh and Secretary of School Education Anita Karwal. The committee was headed by Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, a BJP Rajya Sabha MP, the report stated.

The report stated that a survey was conducted of schools affiliated with CBSE, including Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas, and it was found that about 60% of the students from classes 1 to 12 could access online classes. Apart from that, 30% of the students could access them through TV channels and community radio, indicating that they had limited access. About 10% of the students did not have access to online classes at all. These findings were shared with the committee, the report stated.

The report quoted an MP as saying that a more extensive survey, of schools all across the country, is also being conducted and the results of that survey would be presented later. The issue of reopening of schools and universities was not discussed, however, the parliamentarian added. The MP was further quoted as saying that it was clear that nobody knew when the pandemic would end.

Education institutions across the country have been shut since March so as to prevent the spread of coronavirus. As of now, the institutions would remain closed at least till the end of August. Another MP was quoted by the report as saying that after the meeting, it was indicated by some officers that whenever the decision to reopen schools was made, they would want students of classes 11 and 12 to join first.

At the meeting, the panel members were also informed by the officials of the initiatives that the states had taken to help students access online classes. The committee members also suggested that schools should be asked to use a variety of media like district newspapers and community radio to impart education. There were also suggestions of creation of a question bank on which students could be tested.

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