The Ministry of Education (MoE) has decided to recognize alternative classes (virtual and online) as formal education so that the current academic session does not go to waste.

For the same, the Curriculum Development Center is adjusting the syllabus of grades I to X. Similarly, the Center for Education and Human Resource Development has also emphasized on creating adjusted syllabus apt for alternative teaching-learning.

MoE is all set to formulate an action plan to formally recognize alternative teaching-learning as mainstream education. According to Minister for Education Giriraj Mani Pokharel, technical and higher education being imparted by schools though alternative means will be recognized as formal education.

Community schools have been conducting remote, virtual, and distance education programs from June 1 and private schools from April 1. Universities have also been conducting remote classes.

MoE has decided to recognize this academic session’s online, radio, television, and self-study classes as formal education in the face of teachers as well as students not being able to sit for conventional classes.

About nine million students across the country have been deprived of formal education since April due to the restrictions imposed by the government in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The Curriculum Development Center is doing its homework to revise school-level syllabus. Director General of the Center Keshav Prasad Dahal informed that curriculum experts were making necessary adjustments. “We will make the adjusted syllabus public on September 17,” he said.

Curriculum experts have suggested that the current academic session can be saved by shrinking the syllabus to 30 percent. Students’ minimum learning will be ensured through online, radio, television and print materials by providing the adjusted syllabus to teachers. Courses are being revised so as to complete them in six months.

At least 190 days of study in a school in an academic session is currently recognized as formal education. The Curriculum Development Center has stated that only most necessary subjects will be included in the revised syllabus.

Minister Pokharel informed that the action plan for alternative teaching-learning will be made public once the syllabus is revised. CTEVT and universities have also been directed to submit action plans for technical and higher education.

Though some private schools have already conducted their first quarterly examination virtually, education in almost all community schools have become ineffective mainly due to teachers’ passivity.

“At a time when students are not able to go to educational institutions, home schooling and radio classes seem more effective,” said Minister Pokharel.

Deputy Director at the Center for Education and Human Resource Development, Imnarayan Shrestha, said that the Center had emphasized on the production of additional reading materials specially designed for alternative classes.

One the Alternative Learning Facilitation Guidelines issued by the Education Ministry is turned into an action plan after amendments and alternative teaching-learning is formalized, the ministry has decided that private schools will be allowed to charge fees.

The fee ceiling will be decided by the local level and schools should seek permission from the concerned local level before charging the fee, informed MoE spokesperson Deepak Sharma.

MoE is preparing to roll out the second phase of alternative teaching-learning across the country from September 17.