The Union Ministry of Education has decided to not declare the academic year 2020-21 as a “zero academic year” due to the coronavirus pandemic. The possibility was ruled out during a Parliamentary Standing Committee meeting on Human Resource Development which was held on Monday.
Secretary of Higher Education Amit Khare answering the queries raised by the MPs about classes, university admissions and exams informed that the new batch of students would likely be joining by November-December and classes and examinations for the students currently enrolled would also be conducted.
A zero academic year is one during which no academic activities are conducted, including exams and classes. The report stated that a survey was conducted of schools affiliated with CBSE, including Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas, and it was found that about 60% of the students from classes 1 to 12 could access online classes. Apart from that, 30% of the students could access them through TV channels and community radio, indicating that they had limited access. About 10% of the students did not have access to online classes at all.
A more extensive survey, of schools all across the country, is also being conducted and the results of that survey would be presented later. The issue of reopening of schools and universities was not discussed, however, the parliamentarian added. The MP was further quoted as saying that it was clear that nobody knew when the pandemic would end.
Education institutions across the country have been shut since March so as to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Officials have been indicated to help student access online classes. The committee members also suggested that schools should be asked to use a variety of media like district newspapers and community radio to impart education.