Today, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ held a virtual meeting with the directors of IITs, IIITs, NITs, IISERs and IISc where he discussed the COVID-19 management, online learning, and the status of implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP).
Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre also attended the meeting along with Amit Khare, Secretary, Ministry of Education.
The major highlight of the discussion was on the research that these significant institutions indulged in, mainly to tackle the Covid-19 situation.
Union Education Minister directed the institutions to develop a low-cost RT-PCR machine, kit, ventilators and mathematical modelling to predict the trend of COVID-19 and to successfully place them at the disposal of State Health Departments.
However, already many of the research products by these pivotal institutions have been commercialised through the Incubation Cells and startups. Such as the development of the Corona testing kit -‘Corosure’. Genome sequencing to identify the variants of Corona Virus, ‘COVIRAP’- a device for rapid diagnostic of pathogenic infection, methods to optimize the use of Oxygen in ventilators, development of Oxygen concentrators, low-cost portable ventilators amongst many others.
Key Points of the meeting:
-Union Minister of Education emphasised that there is a need to maintain the quality education in these Institutes of national importance, besides taking adequate safety measures for managing the COVID-19 situation.
Union Education Minister reviewed the status of imparting online education, virtual laboratory courses by the Institutes.
-Directors of these institutes mentioned that they have already started online teaching since the beginning of the initial lockdown in March’20.
– Some institutions have developed their own app for online teaching and evaluation. They informed the Minister that they have also found a solution for students facing connectivity issue. The contents of the lectures were made available for later use to the students so that they can download and study from anywhere.
*COVID situation in Campus*
Union Minister of Education was impressed by the efforts done by the institutions to create and maintain a positive atmosphere. A positive outlook can avoid unnecessary anxiety among the students and teaching staff.
Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre appreciated all the institutions for ensuring the continuation of academic sessions during the covid period. He urged them to focus on science and technology and work on new innovations to tackle the unprecedented challenges caused due to covid.
Lastly, the vaccination drive undertaken for the campus residents in consultation with local administration as per the guidelines was also briefed.
*Future Prospects discussed*
Minister of State for Education Sanjay Dhotre spoke about the importance of emphasizing hybrid learning to cater for the education need of the students. He also stressed the need of implementing the National Education Policy to provide world-class education to students.
With regard to National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, it can be noted that many of the institutions have already started new department/ multi-disciplinary programs. Soon IISc Bangalore and IIT Kharagpur will start courses in Medical sciences. Teachers training/ mentorship and Internationalisation, as well as academia-industry interaction, was also emphasised in the meeting by the Union Education Minister.
*Review meeting with Education Secretaries of States and UTs*
Earlier, on 17th May, Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal had also chaired a review meeting with the Education Secretaries of States and Union Territories. During, the meeting, the Union Minister discussed the COVID-19 management, online education, and implementation of NEP 2020.
Despite the pandemic, the Centre, States and agencies like the National Testing Agency (NTA), have managed to deliver education online and conduct public exams such as JEE and NEET-UG, said the Union Education Minister.
Education Department has taken up many Initiatives in 2020-21 for facilitating continuous learning during the COVID-19 period.