Published: 10th June 2020
Karnataka bans online classes for kids under 10, warns schools against charging fees for them
The Government of Karnataka has formed a 11 people committee consisting of doctors and education experts and private schools' management on how to engage primary school children until schools reopen
After a lot of criticism, the Karnataka Government has finally decided to stop online classes for LKG, UKG and Primary School (Class 1 to 5) students immediately and also strictly ordered the schools not to collect fees on grounds that online classes were being conducted. This decision was taken by S Suresh Kumar, Primary and Secondary Education Minister after parents complained of the difficulties faced by children with regard to internet connectivity and also about being exploited by schools demanding fee payments.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, Suresh Kumar said, "I have taken this decision after conducting meetings with experts. A committee of experts has been constituted to come out with guidelines to engage children of Pre-KG and primary schools in the learning process till the classes resume and also to suggest quality content to enhance the intellect of children. The state is not sure about when schools will be reopen and uncertainty prevails due to COVID-19."
According to Suresh Kumar, 11 experts including doctors from NIMHANS, Azim Premji Foundation, development education Experts, representatives of the Federation of Private School Managements, Early Childhood Association and the authorities of Primary and Secondary Education Departments participated in the meeting. All these experts are part of the committee which was constituted. In addition, academician Gururaj Karjagi and the DSERT Director are the other members of the Committee.
The committee has been entrusted with the task of evolving a mechanism on how best technology can be utilised in the field of education, keeping in mind 75 percent of the children in rural areas have no access to technology. The stream time of each class will also be considered by the experts. On receiving recommendations from the Committee, the government will take further action. Suresh Kumar further added, "Experts have come to the conclusion that online classes are not an alternative to direct teaching. And also the object of education is not to complete the syllabus but to improve the knowledge of children."
When asked about reopening of schools he said, "The centre has proposed to open schools after August 15. Therefore, I cannot say schools will be open from July 1 and it is too early to predict when schools will be reopened."
Notice to 1,000 schools
Referring to the circular issued to schools, Suresh Kumar said, "We have already asked schools not to increase fees in the interest of humanity as some of the people have lost their jobs and have pay cuts due to COVID-19." After the circular was issued, 1,000 complaints have been received against schools for increasing fees. Amongst them, 350 schools have reduced the fees which was hiked this year. "We will take action against the remaining 750 schools if they are not take back their decision, " Kumar said.
Transportation for students in the Western Ghats
In relation to students in the Western Ghats, he said that transportation has been arranged for students to appear for the upcoming SSLC examination. They will provided with the accommodation facility in hostels if there is heavy rain. A booklet is being published in addition to the video clipping to be circulated among students on how arrangements will be made in the examination hall.