Education system seriously affected by the COVID-19 pandemic: Dharmendra Pradhan

The COVID-19 pandemic has “seriously affected” the education system in India like everywhere else in the world due to school closures, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said on Monday. Speaking at Lok Sabha during Question Time, he said due to school closures, the Centre, states and educational institutions need to embrace online technologies to ensure the continuation of the student education.

Pradhan also said that under the inclusive education component of the “Samagra Shiksha” program, financial assistance is provided to states and union territories to undertake the identification and assessment of children with special needs, for aids and devices, braille kits and books, appropriate teaching-learning materials and allowance for female students with disabilities for universalizing school education and reducing the dropout rate. “The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected the education system not only in India but also in countries around the world due to school closures,” the minister said.

He said it has also led to a situation in which the Center, States and educational institutions have had to adopt online technologies and blended mode of education at a very rapid pace to ensure the continuation of the student education. “Electronic content complements regular classroom transactions by supporting teachers with Universal Design for Learning (UDL)-based resources for use in the teaching-learning process,” he added.

Notably, said Pradhan, these resources are also created to help children adjust to mainstream schools and encourage inclusive classrooms. The minister said that the “Samagra Shiksha” program also aims to look at the education of children with special needs (CwSN) in a continuum from kindergarten to grade 12.

The scheme covers all special needs children with one or more disabilities as referred to in the Persons with Disabilities Rights (RPwD) Disabilities Act 2016 who are studying in public, government funded and local body schools, did he declare.

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