MPs Express Concern about Online Education during Coronavirus Lockdown

MPs Express Concern about Online Education during Coronavirus Lockdown

A day after the Ministry of Human Resource Development issued guidelines for online education, the issue found mention at the Ministry of Home Affairs parliamentary committee meeting on Wednesday.

CNN-News18 has learnt that the members of the select committee on home affairs raised the issue of students, schools and teachers getting adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown. At least one MP mentioned that many parents are unwilling to pay fees, jeopardising the employment and livelihood of hundreds of teachers.

The lawmakers also asked Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla if any mechanism is being worked out to help the mental health of students and teachers.

On the question of screen time, MPS asked if any concrete study has been done to decide on the ideal screen time for students.

"Is 45 minutes of time spent on mobile or laptop screen ideal or is it 20 minutes?" a member of the panel reportedly asked.

HRD guidelines have restricted pre-primary online classes to 30 minutes, classes 1-8 to two sessions of 45 minutes each, and higher classes to four sessions of the same duration with breaks.

While Home Minister Amit Shah's intervention in the management of Delhi coronavirus situation came in for praise, sources said MPs also asked why such intervention is not happening in other states where the caseload is high. They reportedly asked if the MHA is planning a Delhi-like intervention in Mumbai and Chennai. One MP also reportedly asked when the pandemic would peak in India.

Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of health, as per sources said no all-India peak can be predicted since each state and union territory was following a different pattern. As per the ministry, 10 states contribute to 86% of Covid-19 cases.

Other issues raised by the MPs were that of the migrant crisis being mismanaged, specifically the trains carrying migrants taking several days to reach their destination and lack of adequate food and water in them.