Education ministry plans to revise calendar, curricula for new school yearA government-formed team of experts working out details, says officials
As the government rolls out plans for school to resume, the Ministry of Education is preparing to reduce prescribed study hours for the new academic year, which is yet to begin due to the Covid-19 pandemic, by around a third.
The government last week decided to allow schools to admit children from August 18 and plan to resume classes from the first week of September.
“A work plan will be out by the end of this week,” Deepak Sharma, spokesperson for the ministry, told the Post referring to the government’s decision to ask the Ministry of education to prepare plans to resume schools. “The plan will revise the number of school days required in an academic year.”
Finance Minister Yubraj Khatiwada, who is also the government’s spokesperson, announced on July 30 that the Ministry of Education has been assigned to prepare a detailed work plan to resume schools. The ministry has already prepared a draft plan, which is being finalised by a team of experts.
As per the government rules, schools need to open for 220 days in a year and classes need to be conducted at least 1,064 hours (for 190 days) every year. However, for this academic year, which was supposed to begin in April, the ministry is preparing to reduce the mandatory study hours to 714 (around 128 days), around 70 percent down from the pre-corona days.
Sharma said the course load for students will be revised in view of the reduced number of days available in the academic year. “The decision on the revised curriculua will be taken by an expert team,” he said.
The government-formed expert team comprises representatives from the government officials, curriculum experts, parents, teachers and private schools, and will decide on the matter. Members of the task force said they have suggested that the adjustment in curricula should be done ensuring that the students meet as many as objectives as possible envisioned by the curricula .
“The readjustment in the academic calendar and the curricula are being done to ensure that the students don’t miss the entire academic year,” Suprabhat Bhandari, chairperson of the Guardians’ Federation Nepal, a member of the taskforce, told the Post. “However, we are in favour of careful redesigning while adjusting the curricula”
School administrators said as there are hardly 220 days left in the year, revising the mandatory number of school days and the curricula is not a bad idea. “This, however, should be done carefully in a scientific manner. The Ministry of Education should take a decision after a proper evaluation of its consequences,” Ritu Raj Sapkota, chairperson of National Private and Boarding Schools’ Association Nepal told the Post.
He said it is also the responsibility of the respective schools to keep their students engaged to the maximum level they can, even if the government decides to readjust the curricula.
According to the Cabinet decision, schools will not be opened on the same day across the country as the threat of coronavirus is not the same everywhere.
Schools in areas where the risk of transmission of the virus is low will open first. The local government concerned has been authorised to decide the date for resumption of the schools in its jurisdiction.