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Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Karnataka: Private schools may soon award grace marks to students whose parents are vaccinated

The private schools association is expected to soon send out an official circular to nearly 4,000 of its member schools located across 30 districts in Karnataka, directing them to implement the initiative.

Written by Ralph Alex Arakal | Bengaluru |
Updated: August 6, 2021 1:19:10 pm
A teacher and student walk together. (AP Photo/Representational)

In a novel initiative to encourage Covid-19 vaccination, private schools in Karnataka are set to award grace marks to students whose parents are inoculated.

D Shashikumar, general secretary of the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka (KAMS), said the marks would be assigned to student as part of their extracurricular assignments for the academic year 2021-22.

“All students across classes have to complete two social projects per year, marked under extracurricular assignments. The extra marks awarded — two each per parent — will be added to students’ tally. The maximum score for such projects range between 30 and 40, as per the internal assessment criteria set for each grade,” he explained to IndianExpress.com.

Shashikumar said the same system was developed with special consideration to students from rural areas as vaccine hesitancy continues to be prevalent in several parts of the state. “It’s a win-win situation for all stakeholders involved in the school education system. Children pushing their parents to get vaccinated will add an extra layer of protection to children, who are yet to be vaccinated,” he said.

He added that the association was hopeful this would also encourage parents to send their wards to school once the government rules in favour of resuming offline classes as well.

Shashikumar said KAMS would soon send out an official circular to nearly 4,000 of its member schools located across 30 districts in the state, directing them to implement the initiative.

Welcoming the move, P E Chidanand, state secretary of the Voice of Parents Association, said it was imperative that such initiatives were taken to ensure a healthy society. “Even though studies indicate that children might not be infected as easily as elders, they are considered potential carriers of the virus. With parents encouraged to get vaccinated, such risks can be mitigated to an extent,” he said.

However, Chidanand recommended the state government look into the matter to ensure it was in line with court orders — the Meghalaya High Court has held that forced vaccination violates fundamental rights as mandated under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution.

“This initiative should not do harm to parents in any way, and respect the choice of each individual. It is difficult for managements to draw a line here, and hence, the state government should ideally step in,” Chidanand said. He stressed that the government should also ensure all staff members at schools are provided both doses before allowing students to attend physical classes.

Meanwhile, Sindhu Rajesh, a parent of two children studying in a private school in Mysuru, said, “This is a timely extension to what schools have been doing in the state for several years. While there were initiatives taken to encourage voting among parents earlier for the Lok Sabha, Assembly, and even local body polls, this initiative is indeed heartening, and will have positive effects down the line.”

In total, Karnataka has administered 3.18 crore doses of Covid-19 vaccines since January 16, of which only 69.53 lakh were identified as second doses.

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