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New Delhi : Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’on December 22, 2020,  virtually interacted with teachers across the country on upcoming competitive and board exams.

Speaking on the occasion, Pokhriyal said that the importance of a Guru has always been more than God and that is why we should respect all the teachers keeping the spirit of Acharya Devo Bhavah. He said that due to the efforts made by the teachers, the online education system of the country has proved successful. The Minister expressed his gratitude to all the teachers for spreading awareness relating to COVID-19 among the students and society at large.

On the question relating to Board Exam dates, Pokhriyal said that being a student centric government, we have always worked in the interest of the students. Pokhriyal said that CBSE is making necessary preparations for conducting the 2021 examinations. As far as the final dates for the examinations are concerned, Board exams will not be held in the month of February and CBSE will very soon announce the dates after discussion with the stakeholders, he added, according to a PIB release.

Regarding a suggestion on providing vocational education in class IX, Pokhriyal said that there are approximately 8,583 CBSE schools that offer vocational education. He informed that that over 2,80,000 secondary schools, nearly 40,000 colleges, and more than 1,000 universities are expected to provide vocational education with internship after the implementation of NEP 2020.

Responding on suggestion that Teachers should be given sufficient training in the implementation of Competency Based Education in schools, Pokhriyal informed that  Ministry of education has implemented NISHTHA programme, which is an online capacity building programme for covering all 42,00,000 elementary school teachers and school heads of the country.  This programme was conducted face to face before the pandemic. However, in its wake, this programme was contextualised to the needs of teaching and learning during the pandemic and made 100% online.

The Minister also informed that CBSE, KVS and JNV undertook a massive exercise to build online teaching capacities of their teachers as soon as the lockdown started to ensure continuity of learning through online means, wherever possible.  In the process, CBSE has trained 4,80,000 teachers, KVS trained 15,855, and JNV trained 9,085 teachers.  Training was also imparted by NVS to teachers regarding online assessment, he added.

Pokhriyal further informed that the new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for School Education has also been initiated and NCERT will be expected to make changes in the text-books in accordance with the new NCF. Areas, such as creative thinking, life skills, Indian ethos, art, and integration, etc. need to be integrated.

Pokhriyal highlighted that to make students aware of the importance of yoga, sports and meditation for mental / physical health, several initiatives are taken by the Ministry. He said that CBSE partnered with FIT INDIA movement to engage students in various online live sessions of physical activities arranged for their physical well being.

He said the CBSE introduced a new subject at secondary level in class IX from the present academic session viz. Physical Activity Trainer and in KVS, online sessions on fitness training and Yoga were conducted to instil the importance of physical fitness in students.  For  the Mental Well Being of students, the Ministry has undertaken an initiative named ‘MANODARPAN’ covering a wide range of activities to provide psychosocial support to the students, Pokhriyal said.

Regarding schedule and syllabus of entrance examinations, the Minister said that the syllabus of JEE (Main) 2021 examination will remain the same as it was last year. However, in order to overcome the impact of reduction of syllabus undertaken by some Boards, the question papers for JEE (Main) 2021 will have 90 questions (30 question each in Physics, Chemistry & Mathematics) of which the candidate will have to answer 75 questions (25 questions each in Physics, Chemistry & Mathematics), he added.