Amid a pandemic that has disrupted the academic schedule of educational institutes across the country, many students as well as parents are worried about the uncertainty that hangs over the future of medical, engineering, and law entrance exams. But as the question of whether they will be canceled still hovers, Union HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal has stated that the well-being of students is what everyone needs to focus on and that exams can come later.
In a conversation with Prabhu Chawla about the challenges and solutions related to education in a post-COVID world, Mr. Pokhriyal said, “The decision will depend on the prevalent situation. We care about our students’ future, they are our future, we are focusing on their well-being amid the pandemic.”
He also stated that the last couple of months have been difficult owing to the number of significant decisions he had to make every day. He said that they connected with more than 33 crore students, one crore teachers, and students’ parents over video calls in the past two months. “We also directly spoke to the states' education ministers on a daily basis to make important decisions about schools and higher education," he said.
He added that even though schools, colleges, and universities weren’t in their normal working conditions, the Central Government has come up with various means for students to not lose out on their academic time. He said, for example, that SWAYAM and DIKSHA portals’ content is updated regularly, and that pathshala has CBSE study material in almost 15 languages. The Union Minister also said that the HRD Ministry has tried its best to make it possible for rural students to also study online through TV sets, if not laptops and phones wherever possible.
Speaking about the possible reopening of educational institutes, he said, “It depends on the schools a lot as to how prepared they are to open with all the necessary precautions in place. What I can assure is that whenever we decide to open schools, we will first speak to the state governments, the Home Ministry, and follow all necessary guidelines provided by the Health Ministry. Education is equally important but we need to take precautions first as the situation demands."