The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has released a handbook on “safe online learning in times of COVID-19”. The book is aimed to “sanitise” the digital space and ensure that all stakeholders including teachers, students, and parents are safe as the learning is being increasingly pushed towards digital modes due to the nationwide lockdown.
The Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Ramesh Pokhiryal Nishank in a tweet wrote, “I urge you all to go through the basic dos and don’ts on how to use the internet safely.” The handbook is available at the official NCERT website — ncert.nic.in
The book informs students about what cyberbullying is, what are dos and don’ts of the cyberspace as well as also gives a brief about the laws in the Indian jurisdiction to protect students and parents in case of any mishappening online. It also shares counter cyberbullying practices along with helpline numbers to contact in case of an incident.
In India, an estimated 71 million children aged between 5-11 years access the Internet on devices of their family members, constituting about 14 percent of the country’s active Internet user base of over 500 million. Two-thirds of internet users in India are in the age group of 12-29 year, according to the Internet and Mobile Association of India.
Earlier, the CBSE had also released a cybersecurity handbook for students in classes 9 to 12. While launching it the Board had said in a written statement, “Many young people are confident in using a wide range of technologies and often turn to the internet for information,” the board noted, “but the confidence with digital technology can also be misleading.”
Meanwhile, NCERT in partnership with the Cyber Peace Foundation and United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has launched ‘e-raksha’ competitions. To spread awareness about digital citizenship among students, teachers, and parents. NCERT had also released several alternative academic calendars for students and teachers to ensure that digital learning amid the lockdown is safe, standardised, and equal across the nation.