Online classes & measures for the continuation of education of Children with Special needs
Date: July 22nd, 2020
Circular No: Acad-52/2020
All Heads of Institutions affiliated to CBSE
Subject: Guidelines issued by the respective State Governments on the conduct of online classes and measures for the continuation of education of Children with Special needs.
This is in continuation of our circular number 24 dated April 4, 2020 wherein schools were suggested to adopt various means to continue teaching learning for all students during the lockdown caused by Covid-19 pandemic. As almost all the schools have started online classes in their own way, many stakeholders raised concerns specially on duration and frequency of such classes. Ministry of Human Resource Development, taking cognizance of concerns of students and parents, announced detailed guidelines for various state governments on online classes on July 14, 2020 suggesting ways to cover all the children including those who do not have any digital device for assisting them in their learning. The complete guidelines on online classes are available at the link https://mhrd.gov.in/sites/upload files/mhrd/files/pragvata¬guidelines 0.pdf and are also attached with this circular.
Education of Children with special needs during Covid-19 lockdown
Children with special needs are particularly disposed to feeling confined in absence of proper social exposure leading to a host of emotional problems in them. Parents of such children are suddenly left by themselves in facing the increased load of caring, helping them with their learning, dealing with their heightened emotional states which was earlier shared by schools and other social institutions to a large extent.
Schools are, thus, advised to go an extra mile and ensure that all children with special needs and children whose parents are involved in essential services (health care professionals etc.) must continue to receive quality education as per their specific needs for accessible and adapted learning. Some of the suggestions for schools in this regard are:
I. Approach each special child and assess her individual needs and discuss adjustments needed for her learning.
II. Use alternatives to print, such as audio or other formats in instruction, pictures, captions, larger prints and sign-language options in all forms of the learning material (virtual, printed or broadcasted) depending upon the need of their students.
III. Use flexible scheduling and deadlines, assistive technology, simplified homework and formative assessments to alleviate the pressure on students and parents.
IV. Guide and train teachers and provide them evidence-based resources on how to teach children with special needs in remote and online settings.
V. Support parents by offering expert advice of special educators and counsellors.
VI. Follow the Pragyata guideline’s section 3.4 which provides insights on supporting online learning of Children with Special Needs.
It is one again highlighted that all the schools affiliated to CBSE are required to adopt/adapt the alternative academic calendar of NCERT at http://ncert.nic.in/aac.html All the schools are advised to follow the guidelines issued by their respective State Government in light of the guidelines issued by MHRD or otherwise and modify their schedule if needed.
(Dr. Joseph Emmanuel)