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Govt lays out alternative study plan for classes 1 to 5, gives a fix for bad internet




A classroom in India (representational image)
Students in a classroom in India | Representational image | Max Pixel

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New Delhi: The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has come up with an alternative academic calendar for primary schoolchildren (classes 1 to 5) while also suggesting ways to beat internet troubles while conducting online lessons during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

The module, prepared by the National Council for Educational Research and Training (NCERT), was made public by the ministry Thursday.

With the central government announcing a further 19 days of lockdown and directing that schools and colleges remain shut, the ministry had Wednesday asked all educational institutions to continue with the academic calendar through online education. The NCERT module is expected to help with this. 

“A week-wise plan for the primary stage (from Classes 1 to 5) has been developed, keeping in view the choice of availability of tools with the teachers,” the NCERT guidelines state. “The week-wise plan consists of interesting activities and challenges, with reference to theme/chapter taken from syllabus or textbook.” 

Among other things, teachers have been advised to conduct classes in keeping with weekly themes. For instance, for Class 1 students, different maths concepts such as pre-number vocabulary, developing number sense, etc, can be tackled per week. 

Similar plans have been charted out for other classes and subjects.

According to the guidelines, the module maps the learning outcomes. “The activities are suggestive in nature, not prescriptive, nor is the sequence mandatory. Teachers and parents may opt to do the activities that the student shows interest in, irrespective of the sequence,” it adds.

Also Read: Covid-19 lockdown is stressful enough. Don’t push yourself to excel in BYJU’S and Duolingo

When net is patchy

In case there is no internet at a student’s home or the connection is patchy, teachers have been advised to explain the activity over the phone, or through SMS or recorded voice messages. The guidelines ask teachers to engage parents while explaining concepts students may find difficult. They also advise follow-up activities to assess the progress of students.

Acknowledging that it is difficult for teachers to call up individual students, the guidelines state, “The teacher may opt for calling students or parents in a phase-wise manner for interacting, explaining and assessing. Hence it is suggested that this may be done in smaller groups.”  

Elaborating on the advice, the NCERT has said a teacher may call the parents of 15 children in a day (Day 1) and explain the work expected. On Day 2, they can call the parents of five of the 15 children to ascertain the progress made, and follow up with the remaining 10 over Day 3 (5 students) and Day 4 (5 students).

On Day 2, she may also call the parents of an additional 10 children to explain the work expected.

This cycle can help teachers tackle a class of 40 students in 8-10 days. 

“Teachers can also send one collective SMS containing activities to a large group of parents/students simultaneously. Voice/video recorded messages may also be sent,” the guidelines state. “Subsequently, parents can also respond to teachers through SMS and recorded voice messages.”  

In case tools such as WhatsApp, Google Hangout etc are being used, the guidelines state, teachers may conduct collective classes. 

The guidelines also promote the use of government education portals such as e-pathshala, the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER) and DIKSHA that offer chapter-wise content.

Also Read: This ‘Venetian’ reason could be behind PM Modi’s decision to extend lockdown by 19 days


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Andhra doctor, suspended for alleging PPE shortage, now beaten by cops for ‘creating nuisance’




doctor with a stethoscope
A doctor with a stethoscope (Representative image) | Pixabay

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Bengaluru: A doctor with a government hospital in Andhra Pradesh, who was suspended for questioning the shortage of PPE kits, was admitted to a mental health facility Sunday, a day after he was allegedly manhandled by the police and arrested for creating nuisance in Visakhapatnam.

Dr Sudhakar Rao, a government civil surgeon, was beaten, his hands tied behind his back and dragged by police officers Sunday. During the incident, Sudhakar allegedly verbally abused the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in an inebriated state. Videos of the incident have since been widely shared online.

“The police control room received a call about a person creating nuisance on Beach Road Hospital in Visakhapatnam. The Fourth Town police was rushed there and found that the person was the suspended doctor, Sudhakar.

“When the police tried to control him, he snatched the mobile phone of an officer and threw it away. He is suffering from mental disorder and he was drunk. He was sent for a medical examination,” Vishakapatnam Police Commissioner R.K. Meena told the media Sunday.

Sudhakar was admitted to a mental hospital Sunday after doctors at the King George Hospital in Vishakapatnam said he suffered from anxiety.

“Since the doctor is in anxiety and talking irrelevant things, I have referred him to a mental care hospital in Visakhapatnam,” said Dr Radha Rani, medical superintendent, King George Hospital.

A statement released by the hospital said: “Dr Sudhakar was brought to the KGH casualty ward at 6.30 pm. From the smell, it was found that he was in a drunk condition. Under the influence of alcohol, he did not cooperate with anybody there and kept abusing all. Still, his pulse, BP were checked. Pulse was 98, BP 140/100. Blood samples were sent to forensic lab to ascertain alcohol content in his blood.”

Also read: 6 toilets for 20 houses, inadequate testing: Why Mumbai’s Worli chawls are a Covid hotspot

‘Treatment towards Sudhakar was inhuman’

Sudhakar, who spent more than 10 years at the Narsipatnam Government Hospital in Andhra Pradesh, was suspended from his duties in March after he openly criticised the Reddy government for failing to provide PPE kits and N95 masks to doctors treating Covid-19 patients.

He had alleged that the state government was giving N95 masks and PPE kits meant for doctors to politicians and the police.

A video of Sudhakar criticising the government was also shared widely. In the clip, he can be heard saying: “We are putting our lives at risk here. We are asked to use the same mask for 15 days and a fresh mask will be provided only twice a month.”

Speaking to ThePrint, Dr P. Gangadhar Rao, member of the National COVID Committee of the Indian Medical Association, said the manner in which Sudhakar was manhandled by the police was “inhuman” and “violated” human rights.

“We strongly condemn the way he was taken into custody. He was not carrying a weapon, he was alone, the number of policemen outnumbered him. Why treat him like that? We also saw a video where a policeman beats him with a lathi,” said Dr Gangadhar.

He added that Rao was one of the most experienced anaesthetists the Andhra Pradesh government had.

“Our next step of action is to get Sudhakar to write an unconditional apology for having used filthy language, abusing the chief minister and the government. We will then take our appeal to the CM seeking that he be reinstated,” Gangadhar said.

Also read: Face shields, gowns, masks — the new attire for cabin crew post lockdown


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