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Too much screen time: Kashmir parents welcome MHRD’s cap on online classes

Srinagar: Waking up to the side effects of too much screen time, the central government has put a cap on online classes in a bid to maintain the physical and mental well-being of the students.

Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has issued a slew of guidelines after parents raised concerns that schools conduct online classes like regular schooling which has increased the screen time of children.

 

 Under new guidelines, MHRD suggests that online classes for pre-primary students should not exceed more than 30 minutes. For classes I to VIII, there should be two online sessions each spanning between 30-45 minutes. And for classes IX to XII, online classes should be divided into four sessions each spanning between 30-45 minutes.  

The guidelines take into consideration balancing offline and online activities and inclusiveness besides maintaining physical health and the mental well-being of the students. Each guideline has been framed from the lens of learners with a strong emphasis on blended learning for students stuck at home due to lockdown.

Zainab, a 3rd standard student of a reputed school, spends at least two hours on a smartphone to attend her classes. “Her class starts at 9 am and ends at 11 am. She continuously spends two hours on mobile phone which obviously affects her eyesight,” said Sheikh Ashraf, Zainab’s father.

Munaza Altaf, a class XI student said they attend three online classes at a stretch. “The duration of each class is 1.10 hours. We get only five minutes of break after each class. We often suffer from headaches after looking continuous at screens,” she said

 Basharat Ahmad, parent of 6th class student said the guidelines will limit the screen time of children. “Kids have become addicted to smartphones. Their eyesight has also been affected.  My daughter has been to ophthalmologist twice and she has been recommended to wear spectacles. We appreciate the step as this was need of an hour.”  

A private school teacher who teaches students of 12th class in a reputed school said she has developed eye problems after continuously looking at the screen. “I deliver four lecturers on a trot.  The duration of each class is 45 minutes. We have only  10 minutes break. I have developed an eyesight problem These guidelines will limit screen time,” she said.