Policy Matter

Karnataka puts a ban on e-learning for primary classes

The government with this move aims to provide relief to teachers, parents and children who have been struggling to cope with digital learning and technology.

Karnataka state department of primary as well as secondary education banned online classes for kindergarten to Vth standard students. The government with this move aims to provide relief to teachers, parents and children who have been struggling to cope with digital learning and technology.

This decision came after a report got submitted by BN Gangadhar, director of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences.

The Karnataka government even considered the complaints from multiple parents about online classes organised by private schools, also for kindergarten students. Karnataka’s primary and secondary education minister, S Surest Kumar announced this decision on Wednesday post his meeting with department officials.

The department even consulted several educationalists like VP Niranjanaradhya and MK Sridhar, John Vijay Sagar among others along with the home and health departments before finalising the decision.

Kumar even gave warnings to schools against collecting fees in the name of online classes and against increasing the fees for the FY 2020-21. He further noted that a committee has been constituted by them to prepare guidelines about how to engage students and enhance their knowledge. The head of committee is MK Sridhar, said Kumar. Nevertheless, in the meanwhile, online classes got flagged off by the Kerala government from June 1st, through the official website of KITE Vecters channel. The classes are organised for students from 1st standard to 12th standard between 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. The timetable for conducting these classes got released by KITE.

However, it was unfortunate to discover that one the first day of school a 14-year-old from Malappuram district of Kerala committed suicide since she has missed an online class for not having any means of going online. The State Project Director later revealed that around 1.15 lakh students in Kerala lack the access to online education, as on July 1st.

Together We Can, a Kochi-based advocacy group also wrote to the Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan, putting light on the fact that online education has the potential to affect a child’s emotional and social wellbeing.

The central government then launched an E-Vidya initiative so that remote learning across primary, high-secondary school and higher education institutes gets boosted. As a part of this, the government also introduced a ‘one class one channel’ facility for conducting classes of 1st standard to 12th standard on television. The channels are said to be available on direct-to-home channels.

Apart from this, the government even gave the permission of starting online courses from May 30th to top 100 universities on the National Institutional Ranking Framework.

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