In the transition from 2020 to 2021, the education scenario in India witnessed an upsurge in online learning methods. When the Government of India imposed a country-wide lockdown of socio-economic activities in early 2020, online education bridged the learning gap. Even then, whether online education in India has any significant impact on the students, require critical evaluation. In this context, with reference to responses published against Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 373, Education Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank stated “The states & UTs have been advised to Map the students, school wise with their individual performance”. The complete statement is available at pqars.nic.in.
Shri Chh. Udayanraje Bhonsle, Shri Ch. Sukhram Singh Yadav, Smt. Chhaya Verma and Shri Vishambhar Prasad Nishad raised in their queries (Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question No. 373), whether any study has been conducted to know the effects of online education on children during the Covid-19 pandemic. In response to the above query, the Minister of Education stated that “Education is a subject in the Concurrent List of the Constitution”.
States and Union Territories have been advised by the Ministry of Education to monitor the performance of students, across schools. Thus State/UT Governments have been asked to act as per findings of the surveillance. The statements from the Ministry of Education read, “State governments have been directed to act based on the situation prevailing at every place to meet the demands of all students for providing them with the digital access required for learning digitally”.
The Minister of Education was also requested to state the manner in which online learning methods are impacting the quality of education. In response to this query, the Minister highlighted the Manodarpan initiative and CBSE’s Cyber Security Handbook. Manodarpan is available on the MHRD website while the PDF of the Cyber Security Handbook is available on the CBSE website.
The Manodarpan initiative was adopted under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. Manodarpan is implemented with the mission of providing psychosocial support to students, family members as well as teachers during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. The initiative aims to cater to the mental health and well-being of such stakeholders.
While online learning is being increasingly being utilised in India post-2020, exposure to the internet essentially demands cybersecurity measures. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), in a bid to ensure safe and healthy digital habits among online learners, has published the Cyber Security Handbook. Education Minister pointed out in his statements that the handbook address topics including various types of cyberbullying, online sexual abuse, online attacks, frauds etc.