Karnataka Education Minister B.C. Nagesh on Thursday said the state government would decide on resuming offline classes for students of 1st to 8th standard in schools soon.
Participating in an official programme at Kittur taluk in Belagavi district, Nagesh told the mediapersons that the state government has not arrived on any decision yet on resumption of schools. However, the issue, according to the minister, would be discussed with the task force led by Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on August 30 to arrive at a final decision.
He said classes from 9th to second Pre-University Course (II PUC/Class 12) have already commenced from August 23.
“We are receiving a good response from teachers, parents and education experts. Based on the pros and cons, a decision on resuming classes from first to eight standard will be taken,” he said.
The minister explained that though a 16-member expert committee headed by noted cardiologist Dr. Devi Shetty for prevention and management of Covid-19 third wave, has favoured the resumption of primary schools but the final decision can be taken only based on the report of Karnataka Covid-19 Technical Advisory Committee.
Time and again, experts and child right activists have been demanding the state government to resume schools at the earliest since February.
The academicians, led by Niranjanaradhya V. P., Senior Fellow, Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of Indian University (NLSIU) had even submitted a memorandum to the state government had argued that this overall loss of learning — regression or forgetting of what children had learnt in the previous classes plus the current year loss — is going to lead to a cumulative loss over the years, impacting not only the academic performance of children but also their adult lives.
Even activists have quoted the latest UNICEF’s – Pandemic Classroom – an analysis of school closure reports of 14 countries worldwide, stating that in India, closure of 1.5 million schools due to the pandemic and lockdowns in 2020 has impacted 247 million children enrolled in elementary and secondary schools. In addition, there are over six million girls and boys who were already out of school even before the Covid crisis began.
“Online education is not an option for all as only one in four children has access to digital devices and internet connectivity. Pre-Covid, only a quarter of households (24 per cent) in India had access to the internet and there is a large rural-urban and gender divide,” the report stated.