Published: 24th November 2020
K'taka schools, PU colleges not to open in December: Technical Advisory Committee to decide on academic year soon
The state has 9,59,566 Class 10 students of the state, CBSE and ICSE boards, and 5,70,126 pre-university students
The State Government has decided not to reopen schools and pre-university colleges in December. The decision was announced on Monday by Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar, less than a week after the higher education department reopened degree colleges on November 17.
The decision was based on a report by the Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) constituted by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa, which took into consideration the spike in cases in Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat and Rajasthan, and noted that the winter months of December-January would be conducive to the spread of respiratory infections. Besides, the epidemiological perspective based on a Covid survey done in the state in September is that there may be a spike in Covid cases in districts that have recorded low infection spread now.
Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar said it is not advisable to reopen schools and PU colleges anytime soon. "We need to consider the possibility of a second wave of Coronavirus hitting the country. The matter was discussed at the technical advisory committee meeting and the government has been informed of the decision," he said.
Suresh Kumar said that the Covid situation will be reviewed towards December-end to consider reopening of schools post-December. The TAC will meet in the third week of December to decide on a road map for the academic year, as the education department is looking at a phased reopening of schools, starting with older students of Class 8 and above.
The state has 9,59,566 Class 10 students of the state, CBSE and ICSE boards, and 5,70,126 pre-university students. A decision on exam dates too has to be taken and it will be done after a discussion among officials.
Suresh Kumar said that Class 10 students would have completed 100 per cent of their syllabus in December as classes are being aired on state-run television channel Doordarshan Chandana.
The TAC, at its 52nd meeting on Covid on Sunday, decided to recommend to the state government to postpone reopening of schools and not to do so at least in December.
TAC Chairman Dr M K Sudarshan said at the Sunday meeting, "Covid is showing a declining trend in the state with around 1,700 cases and 20 deaths daily. It is important to consolidate this gain made after great efforts in the last eight months."
The committee concluded, "In this context, after extensive deliberations, it was unanimously resolved not to reopen schools in December.”
Suresh Kumar said there were contending perspectives during the discussion — one that said schools should not open at all; and the other that highlighted the rise in child labour and child marriage incidents among government school children in rural areas.
“We will have to tackle these social ills. The Technical Advisory Committee has given its decision and the most important aspect now is to save lives,” he said, adding that the decision was made keeping the welfare and safety of children in mind.
Degree colleges reopened on November 17, but the attendance of students has been abysmal. Medical and paramedical colleges too are reopening on December 1. The impact of the opening of colleges will be known in the coming days, said TAC members.
Reliance to step into state's virtual school initiative
Principal Secretary to the Department of Primary and Secondary Education Department, S R Umashankar, said that besides the state's initiatives to disseminate educational content on television, YouTube and (now suspended) Vidyagama programme, private channels have also been approached. Reliance's Jio TV has come forward to freely broadcast educational content, and a memorandum of understanding has been signed, he added.