The Karnataka government on Saturday suspended the ‘Vidyagama’ programme after 34 students attending classes under the programme in Belagavi and Kalaburagi districts in North Karnataka tested positive for COVID-19.
The Department of Primary and Secondary Education had launched Vidyagama programme to reach out to students of government schools by taking classes at doorsteps of the children’s houses at their villages.
Under this programme, teachers were asked to meet the children at playgrounds or temples near the students’ residences and engage them in academic activities.
Following reports of students testing Covid positive, state primary education minister S Suresh Kumar said he has given direction to the department to temporarily suspend the programme in the state.
“I have noticed the opinions expressed regarding the Vidyagama program that has been implemented in the state. For us the health and safety of our children and teachers are important and no programme is more important than the health of children and teachers. We will take a decision further about Vidyagama based on the report from each district,” the minister said in a Facebook post in Kannada.
The minister has directed the Principal Secretary of the Education Department to temporarily stop the Vidyagama program and to get reports from across the state to know whether the children were tested positive because of the teachers or due to the programme.
“Vidyagama is a scientifically designed programme for the benefit of socially weaker sections to continue learning and it has turned as model for the country. There should not be any doubt about the safety measures followed in the implementation of the programme,” he added.
Former Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy opposed the Vidyagama programme. In a series of tweets on Saturday, Kumaraswamy said that the State government is risking the lives of both teachers and students by this programme.
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