Updated: June 2, 2020 2:49:17 pm
On a day virtual classes began for lakhs of students studying in government and aided schools in Kerala, a 10th-grade student in Malappuram district Monday took her own life reportedly out of anguish that she did not have the technological means to access the classes, her family said. Education Minister C Raveendranath has ordered the district education officer to file a report on the case.
Police found the charred remains of 14-year-old Devika, a resident of Mangeri near Valanchery, in a plot close to her home, hours after she was reported missing. She belonged to a Dalit family and her father was a daily-wage earner.
‘Preliminary evidence suggests it’s a suicide. But the circumstances of her death are under investigation, ‘ said KM Shaji, circle inspector who’s heading the investigation. He refused to divulge more details.
However, her family told reporters that they suspect she took her own life as she couldn’t access the first day of virtual classes. The television set at the household needed repairs and there was no laptop or smartphone with internet access. The virtual classes were being offered to students of classes 1 to 12 through modules on the KiTE Victers television channel and on its website and social media platforms.
An emotional Balakrishnan, her father, told Asianet News, ‘I had told her that we can fix the TV by the time classes start. Or else, the school can give her a tablet temporarily or she can even go view them at a neighbour’s house. I don’t know why she would do this.’
Her grandmother told reporters that Devika was academically very good and had no reason to commit suicide. ‘If there was no class, we wouldn’t scold her. Why would she take her own life?’.
Upon hearing of the incident, G Raveendranath, the education minister, assured all students that no one would be deprived of the virtual classes if they didn’t have access to the facilities. The classes, he said, are being conducted on a trial basis for two weeks and any shortcomings would be solved in the next few weeks. Alternate arrangements would be made for such students, he added.
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