Updated: July 22, 2021 6:24:01 pm
With the second academic year in a row with no offline classes already underway, the Karnataka government is likely to begin offline classes in a phased manner from August, sources in the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) indicated.
“A report by the expert panel headed by the DPI Commissioner will be submitted first to the Primary and Secondary Education Minister soon. The panel, which comprises health department officials, pediatricians, educationalists, private school managements, and representatives of parents’ associations have recommended that offline classes resume from the first week of August,” the source told Indianexpress.com.
Meanwhile, Health and Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar Wednesday said that vaccination of teachers across schools, including government, aided and unaided private ones, would be carried out to facilitate them to resume offline classes. “Vaccines will be administered to teachers and non-teaching staff of all government as well as aided and unaided private schools in the state on a priority basis for the early re-opening of schools, keeping the future of children in mind,” he stated.
He added that children could not rely on online classes forever. “Online classes may impact the psychological health of the children. Therefore, we will have wide consultation process before arriving at any decision. Experts’ opinion will be considered for making such decisions,” Sudhakar added.
At the same time, education experts have highlighted that because of schools remaining closed now for over a year and a half, students in rural areas have been impacted more adversely. “Their (rural students) health, nutrition, learning, and overall development have all been compromised. Incidents of child marriage, child labour have also increased over this time with some forced even to beg for a living,” Niranjanaradhya V P, senior fellow at the Centre for Child and Law, National Law School of India University said.
Further, experts in the state have decided to apprise Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar of the proposal to begin offline classes for students in the primary section first.
“The suggestion made by the Director-General (Balram Bhargava) of the ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research), that it would be wise to reopen schools in the country with the primary section, will be brought to the notice of our Education minister. His idea of reopening schools for younger students earlier than their older counterparts is something different than what has been strategised as of now. We will demand further discussion on this,” an educationist who is part of the panel convened by the Education Minister to deliberate on reopening of schools in the state said.
The educationist, however, added that it was important not to ignore the ICMR chief’s recommendation that all teachers and staff interacting with children need to get inoculated before reopening schools. “While parents and other elders at home might have been vaccinated with at least a dose already, the same should be ensured for all staff members at schools as well to minimise any chance of infection to the students,” the educationist explained.
Meanwhile, colleges in the state have been permitted by the government to allow students on campuses from July 26.
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