On May 17, 2020 Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced several initiatives to boost the education sector in New Delhi to boost the access and equity in education and improve the gross enrolment ratio in the coming years. The initiatives show up as there is new challenge & several opportunities for the education system in the country due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Immediate set of initiatives in this direction includes:
i.A comprehensive initiative called PM e-VIDYA will be launched which will combine all efforts related to digital / online /on-air education, which will enable multi-mode access to education, and includes:
- DIKSHA(one nation-one digital platform) will become the nation’s digital infrastructure to provide quality e-content in school education for all the states/UTs
- TV(one class-one channel) where one dedicated channel per grade for each of the classes 1 to 12 will provide access to quality educational material- Study Webs of Active–Learning for Young Aspiring Minds(SWAYAM) online courses in Massive Open Online Course(MOOCS) format for school and higher education
- Indian Institute of Technology Professor Assisted Learning(IITPAL) for IIT Joint Entrance Examination (JEE)/ National Eligibility cum Entrance Test exam(NEET) preparation
- Air through Community radio and CBSE Shiksha Vani podcast; study material for the differently-abled developed on Digitally Accessible Information System (DAISY) and in sign language on NIOS website/ YouTube.
Beneficiaries– Will benefit nearly 25 crore school going children across the country.
ii.Manodarpan initiative is launched to provide such support through a website, a toll-free helpline, national directory of counselors and interactive chat platform among others so as to provide psychosocial support to students, teachers and families for mental health and emotional wellbeing.
Beneficiaries– Will benefit all school going children in the country, along with their parents, teachers and the community of stakeholders in school education.
iii.Government expands e-learning in higher education by liberalizing open, distance and online education regulatory framework. Top 100 universities will start online courses & online components in conventional Universities and Open and Distance Learning (ODL) programmes will also be raised from 20% to 40%.
Beneficiaries– Will provide enhanced learning opportunities to nearly 7 crore students across different colleges and Universities.
iv.Has been decided to prepare a new National Curriculum and Pedagogical Framework for school education, teacher education and early childhood stage to prepare students and future teachers as per global benchmarks as there is a need to promote critical thinking, creative and communication skills, along with experiential and joyful learning for the students focussing on learning outcomes.
- The curriculum must be rooted in the Indian ethos and integrated with global skill requirements.
v.A national foundational literacy and numeracy mission will be launched to ensure that every child in the country attains foundational literacy and numeracy in Grade 5 by 2025.
- For this, teacher capacity building, a strong curricular framework, engaging learning material – both online and offline, learning outcomes and their measurement indices, assessment techniques, tracking of learning progress, etc. will be designed to take it forward in a systematic fashion.
Beneficiaries- This intiative will cover the learning needs of nearly 4 crore children in the age group of 3 to 11 years.
Constituency of Nirmala Sitharaman– Rajya Sabha (Karnataka)