New Delhi: Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has called a meeting with state education ministers to discuss issues related to COVID-19 and mid-day meal programme, officials said Monday. The meeting will be held at 2.00pm Tuesday through video conferencing.
“The HRD minister will interact with state education ministers through video call tomorrow. He will discuss issues like handling of COVID-19, mid-day meal programme and ‘Samagra Shiksha’ programme,” a senior HRD Ministry official said.
Pokhriyal had interacted Monday with parents online and addressed various issues, including unavailability of books and uncertainty over board exams, arising due to the lockdown imposed to curb the coronavirus spread.
Universities and schools across the country have been closed since March 16 when the Centre announced a countrywide classroom shutdown as one of the measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Later, a nationwide lockdown was announced March 24, which has now been extended till May 3.
In March last week, the HRD Ministry had asked states and Union Territories to ensure continued supply of mid-day meals to students despite the closure of schools around the country to check the spread of coronavirus.
The suggestions offered included delivering packaged meals or the equivalent amount of food grains to students at home, or depositing money in the bank accounts of their parents. The Samagra Shiksha programme is an integrated scheme for school education.
While Punjab and Karnataka have already announced summer vacations due to the COVID-19 outbreak, other states are working on academic calendar and deliberating on various measures, including advancing the summer break, to minimise academic losses.
“Education being a state subject, states are free to decide their own academic calendar and schedule for summer break. They also need to keep in mind the coronavirus situation in the particular state,” the official said.