Tuesday, 22 September, 2020
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Govt exploring alternative ways to upgrade children to avoid loss of academic year



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By Manjima Dhakal
Kathmandu, Aug. 16: Along with increasing risk of the loss of academic year due to uncertainty of school resumption, the government has been planning to upgrade students to higher classes on the basis of life skills they achieve during their home stay. The government has been preparing to measure values, aptitude, skills, knowledge and readymade ideas of children as the tools to upgrade them to senior grades.
This year the government is planning to define children learning differently where students will involve in practical learning that are out of course content, Ganesh Prasad Bhattarai, director of Curriculum Development and Evaluation Council (CDEC) said.
Now, the council has been consulting with experts, looking at best practices across the world and their feasibility in Nepal to prevent the loss of academic year, Bhattarai said.
Minister for Education, Science and Technology, Giriraj Mani Pokharel recently directed the council to submit a report with possible options to avoid the loss of students' academic year at any cost. The Minister directed so at the council board meeting after school resumption date is uncertain even now.
According to Bhattarai, the council has been making different plans for different conditions, like if schools open in September, October or November or don’t open at all this year. The council is working not to avoid the loss of academic year of children whatever situation arises. So, the council has been trying to connect student learning with their life skills, Bhattarai said.
The life skills may vary according to age and cluster of children where they are staying. Life skills of city area children and those of remote areas may be different. Basically, gardening, farming, cooking, sanitation maintenance and other things required in our day-to-day life will be the criteria of life skills, he added.
"Students can be upgraded to higher classes next year but minimum learning achievement must be assured that will be measured by school teachers. For example, if a student says he/she has learned the skill to cultivate cauliflower then the student must be capable to share and show the process to grow the cauliflower."
According to Bhattarai, students can learn such life skills from guardians while the government also is planning to facilitate children from radio, television, other virtual modes, and from small gatherings. Besides that, schools can also open in areas where there is no risk of virus infection.
The CDC will submit the report to the Ministry in 10 days. Then after the Ministry will decide about the academic year.
About seven million children are confined to their homes since March 18 after the schools were closed for an indefinite period in fear of the coronavirus. 


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