Published: 20th May 2021
Institutes must maintain quality education while adhering to COVID-19 safety measures: Pokhriyal
Union Education Minister recently chaired a meeting with directors of prominent institutes to review the status of COVID-19 management and online education
In a video conference with the Directors of IISc/IITs/IIITs/IISERs and NITs today, the Union Minister of Education Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ stressed on the need to maintain quality education even during the pandemic. The meeting was also attended by Minister of State for Educationm, Sanjay Dhotre and Secretary, Higher Education Ministry of Education, Amit Khare.
Pokhriyal said there was a need to maintain quality education in these instiitutes of national importance while also taking adequate safety measures for managing COVID-19. He also reviewed the status of imparting online education and virtual laboratory courses by these institutes. The directors of the institutes mentioned that they have already started online teaching since the commencement of initial lockdown in March 2020. Some institutions have also developed their own app for online teaching and evaluation. They also informed that for students facing connectivity issue, the lecture contents were made available even for later use which they can download from anywhere and study. Teachers have interacted through online classes with their students and guided them.
The status of COVID -19 cases in the campus of these institutions and handling of situation arising thereon by these institutes was also discussed. The minister impressed that the positive thinking and positive reactions to the current situation could avoid unnecessary anxiety among the students and teaching community. An effort by the institutes would be helpful in creating positive atmosphere in the society.
Appreciating the efforts of the institutions in ensuring continuation of academic sessions, Dhotre urged them to focus on science and technology and work on new innovations to tackle the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic. He also spoke about the importance of emphasising on hybrid learning to cater to the education needs of the students and the need to implement the National Education Policy to provide world class education to students.
The institutes detailed their COVID-19 management strategy and voluntary services extended to local administration for awareness and supply of necessary support for management of the situation in the respective State. The institutes also briefed about the vaccination drive undertaken for campus residents in consultation with local administration and as per the guidelines.
However, the main discussion was on research undertaken by these institutions in tackling COVID. The minister commended the institutes in developing low cost RT-PCR machines, kits, ventilators, mathematical modelling of predicting the trend of COVID-19 and successfully placing them at the disposal of state health departments. It was noted that most of the research products were commercialised through incubation cells and start-ups of these institutes.
The Corona testing kit ‘Corosure’, research for development of vaccine which can be stored at room temperature, Genome sequencing to identify the variants of Corona Virus, ‘COVIRAP’ device for rapid diagnostic of pathogenic infection, methods to optimize use of oxygen in ventilators, development of oxygen concentrators and low cost portable ventilators are some of the products.
The discussion regarding the National Education Policy, 2020 revealed that many of the institutions have already started new department/ multi- disciplinary programmes and a strong emphasis on training teachers and industry-academia collaboration was encouraged.