- Punjab Education Minister suggests in video conference with Union HRD Minister and IT Minister.
- Says, free internet service should also be provided by BBNL for free online classes and wider reach.
- Appeals to increase Mid Day Meal workers honorarium to Rs.3000 per month for full year.
- ‘Mid day meal’ scheme be extended up to class 12th including students of pre-primary classes.
- Suggests to promote class 10 students on basis of pre-board exams and internal assessment
Punjab Education Minister Mr. Vijay Inder Singla in video conference with Union Human Resource Development Minister Mr. Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad suggested to direct all the TV Channels including government, private and news channels under Disaster Management Act, 2005, to provide a free of cost 2-hour time slot per day to state governments to broadcast education lectures.
Mr. Singla described this as a need of hour to compensate the loss of education hours due to lockdown aimed at containing Coronavirus. He said that as the Disaster Management Act 2005 is imposed in the country and the union Government has all the rights reserved with it. Therefore, in view of students’ education loss, all TV Channels must be asked to run free time slot.
The Education Minister said that Punjab should at least be provided 4 dedicated channels of Doordarshan to broadcast lectures for various classes. The channels should be made available at least 6 hours a day followed by a repeat broadcast for the same time. He informed that Education Department has made references to Doordarshan to provide TV Channel to broadcast lecture for various classes. But, no positive response has so far been received. The matter was also taken up with the NCERT and contents for various subjects for class 7th and 8th students has been sent to further broadcast it for students of Punjab. NCERT assured that it will be started for 2 hours a day followed by repetition of the same lectures the same day. “Amid these tough times and weighing the loss of the study of students it is necessary that Private TV Channels be directed to give free time to the State Government to broadcast lectures”, he added.
To meet the demand of internet in wake of online classes, Mr. Singla also suggested that including BBNL, all the telecom companies are under the ambit of the union government, thus they should also be directed to provide free internet service to achieve the target of providing free online classes and wider reach to the poor. He stressed that free internet connection should be allowed to the students in the villages and necessary directions be issued to BBNL and other operators for the current year at least.
In another key demand, Mr. Singla said that honorarium of Mid Day Meal workers should be increased to Rs.3000 per month for full year. And, they should be paid for full 12 months instead of only 10 month period as of now. “Apart from this, mid day meal must be extended up to class 12th students and students of pre-primary classes, which are 2.73 lakh now, under this scheme to mitigate distress of poor people” said the Education Minister, adding that Punjab has already prepared Annual Plan for the Mid Day Meal. The plan is to be got approved by Executive Committee and the State Government, which is pending due to lockdown.
To ease the anxiety and stress level of the students preparing for remaining board exams, Mr. Singla suggested that 10th class students may be promoted based on pre board results and internal assessment, while 12th class students should be allowed to complete their examinations as early as possible.
He also informed the union government that Punjab School Education Board has already issued orders of printing of books. Out of the 1.6 crore books required, 70 lac books have already got printed. Of which 60 lacs books have been delivered to the district headquarters. Remaining 10 lac books have been printed and lying with the printing press mostly in Jalandhar, Agra and Mathura. So far as the remaining books are concerned, the same shall be printed only after the situation becomes normal and the printing presses are allowed to engage the labour and print the books. He said that Board has already uploaded e-books on its website. SCERT has further segregated the chapters on all subjects and have made the PDF files. These PDF files have been individually made available to the schools through various social media platforms and departmental website. Besides this, Department had compiled all the lectures delivered to the students of various classes and are available on official “You Tube” channel. E-Content of all classes had already been prepared. An APP has been created and the same has also been made available to the schools and the teachers and to the students.
The Education Minister said that a FM 100.2 Radio Channel has been engaged to broadcast the lectures. Many school teachers, wherever possible, have started taking online classes through ZOOM App, where 100 students can participate at a time. However, the main requirement is internet connectivity which is the problem in certain cases.
He said that state government has already preponed the summer vacations starting from 11h April to 10th May 2020. If lockdown will be extended up to 10th May, there will not be any academic loss. In case of extension, academic loss can be compensated by reducing the syllabus proportionately. This will not leave much burden on the students, however the same can be considered in respect of selected classes only.
Union Minister Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad has shown interest in Tele-consultancy services model of the state of Punjab, being provided to the needy persons during the countrywide lockdown and said that union government keen to recommend it to another states of the country as it is befitting to fight the Coronavirus and to mitigate the anxiety level of the persons stuck in their homes. Mr. Vijay Inder Singla apprised that Tele Consultation and Counseling has been started over Toll free number 1800-180-4104, on which pool of 2000 doctors is available 24×7. He also informed about the COVA Mobile App, wheat procurement progress and other initiative being taken by the state government.