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Regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 April 2024

Whiff of normality with lockdown relaxation

Erase holiday for academic gain: Teachers

A Staff Reporter Guwahati Published 04.05.20, 09:24 PM
A man unlocks the door of his shop after the relaxation in the Covid-19 lockdown in Guwahati on Monday.

A man unlocks the door of his shop after the relaxation in the Covid-19 lockdown in Guwahati on Monday. (PTI)

Teachers in Assam have recommended that the state government cancel the month-long summer vacation in July this year to compensate for students’ academic loss during the nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19.

The government has held several rounds of meetings with vice-chancellors of universities and teachers to find out ways to compensate the academic loss. It has also constituted a task force with senior officials of the state education department and teachers’ representatives for recommendations. “The teachers’ representatives in the task force have recommended that the summer vacation should be cancelled and classes held during that period,” a member of the task force said.

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All educational institutions in Assam have been closed since March 15. Although the third phase of lockdown has been extended till May 17, sources said the educational institutions were unlikely to reopen immediately after lockdown is lifted.

Considering the lockdown, the state government had earlier directed educational institutions to go for online classes but a section of teachers were against the idea claiming that all students do not have smart phones or access to the Internet.

The task force during its first round of meeting held recently suggested a number of other options like postponing the annual examinations upto class XII till January and restarting practical classes for XI and XII students from June 1 by maintaining social distancing.

The source said the task force also proposed strengthening online education system and organising training for teachers in online education.

“Based on the recommendations of the task force, the education department will soon announce a set of new plans,” the source said.

Because of the lockdown, the universities could not hold the final semester examination of undergraduate courses this month as scheduled. Gauhati University has already announced that the second, fourth and sixth semester examinations of the undergraduate courses would be held in July. The other universities are yet to come forward with their decisions.

The UGC had sent guidelines to the universities last month, emphasising on rescheduling the academic calendar. It had asked universities to follow a six-day week pattern to compensate the loss and said that every institute should develop virtual classroom and video conferencing facility.

Meanwhile, the online classes offered by colleges have opened up a new way of learning for students.

Hiranya Chaliha, principal of Kaliabor College in central Assam’s Nagaon district, said the teachers were initially hesitant about online classes but were now comfortable with it. “We could cover the students of the major classes almost entirely,” he said, adding that the teachers taught online with the help of WhatsApp, Google classroom or YouTube. Chaliha said to help students, they have made available the contents of N-LIST (National Library and Information Services Infrastructure for scholarly content). which was earlier accessible only to teachers, to them.

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