Karnataka to release revised syllabus and exam time-table for SSLC students on January 5 or 6

Suresh Kumar in a meeting with TNIE said, "If we find such symptoms in students attending schools, then they will taken to isolation rooms. We will get them tested through RTPCR method."
Suresh Kumar, Primary and Secondary Education Minister
Suresh Kumar, Primary and Secondary Education Minister

With the COVID-19 pandemic still around and reports of a dangerous new strain doing the rounds in Britain, the Karnataka Government has not changed its decision of reopening schools for Class 10 and 12 students and restarting Vidyagama classes for Class 6 to 9 students. But what if some student or teachers contract with the virus? Is the state government prepared to tackle these cases?

To this, Suresh Kumar S, Primary and Secondary Education Minister, said, "The Primary and Secondary Education Department prepared Standard Operating Procedures and submitted it to the Technical Advisory Committee. They have agreed to these guidelines and given a green signal to us. I want to clarify to parents and teachers that Vidyagama classes for students is not compulsory. If parents feel that their child is doing better by attending online classes or even DD Chandana videos, then they are free to continue the same process. If a child wants to attend the class, then they must mandatorily bring an approval letter from parents. Students must not have any symptoms and only then they can attend the classes."

He came to the TNIE office in Bengaluru on Wednesday to discuss the ongoing controversies in Primary and Secondary Education. He further added, "We have also instructed schools to depute a teacher as a mentor for every 10 children. These mentors will be constantly monitoring the progress in academics and health of children. In case, if we find such symptoms in students, then there are isolation rooms in schools. The children will be isolated and will get them through RTPCR method and the process for treatment will follow. At the same time, we have asked all the teachers to get themselves tested through RTPCR method and submit their medical report to the department. As per the statistics by the state health department, the percentage of children of this age group getting COVID-19 is minimal and fatality is almost zero. I have learnt this from the continuous data procured by the health department from June to December. However, they can be potential carriers of the virus and teachers might come in contact with it. Therefore, the teachers have to undergo RTPCR test 72 hours before the actual classes begin."  

Revised syllabus to be out on Jan 6
With only a few days to go for reopening of schools for class 10 students, the state government is still working on the reduction of syllabus for the students. Explaining when the department plans to release the syllabus reduction list, the minister said, "Yesterday, I held a meeting with the department officials to discuss the same. We are not sure about the exact number of working days for the school. It might be 120-125 days of working. In a normal year, we would have got 225 days to teach these children. Keeping the same number of days in mind, we have decided that exams will not be held in the month of March or April. We believe that our students must be given a reasonable amount of time to prepare for the exams."

He also informed that the revised syllabus for class 12 students is ready and will be released soon. "For SSLC students, we have two objectives — the minimum necessary learning should not be impacted as they will continue to study the same even in Class 11 and 12. Aside from this, we have something called Spiral Learning. According to this method, we can stop students from learning the same topics done in their previous classes. However, there are chances that it might hurt the sentiments of a certain section of people. People will question us on why those particular topics were dropped. Therefore, we are making it controversy free syllabus and easy for students. We are likely to come with the revised syllabus and exam timetable on January 5 or 6," he explained. 

No hurry to give mid-day meals 
If you think that with the reopening of schools, the mid-day meals will be provided to children, then you are wrong. The state government is in no hurry to provide mid-day meals or even Ksheera Bhagya. Suresh Kumar clarified, "The guidelines provided by the central government doesn't allow us to provide mid-day meals or milk to children. Because this is the time when children might come in contact with the virus as they sit together to eat food. Hence, there is no way that we provide meals to them in school campus. However, we have been providing the basic groceries, rice and dal. Keeping that in mind, we will observe how the schools will function for more than 15 days from January 1. On the basis of our observances, we will decide whether or not to provide food to these kids."

Work on the formula
A few days ago, Suresh Kumar wrote on his Facebook page that he is stuck between the parents and private school management on the state of private schools owing to the lockdown. The issue has gained prominence as the parents are not able to pay fees due to lack of jobs and salary. At the same time, school managements haven't paid salaries to their teachers for many months now citing lack of funds as reason. This has given chance to doubt if the private schools are on the verge of closing. Suresh explained, "Recently, when I held a meeting with the private schools, the delegation wanted me to announce a fee structure. Similarly, parents wanted me to take some action against these schools. But I suggested to the schools to charge only a tuition fee and not to charge for library or other expenses which they usually do. It was clear that they were not satisfied with my decision. Hence, I suggested them to hold talks with the parents and come up with a formula that can benefit both the parties. We have given them some time. In case, if the issues don't get resolved, then we will interfere and come up with a formula."

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