BENGALURU: COVID-19 has impacted everyone but the education department is among the worst-hit. "We still do not know when to open schools or how classes will take place once they open," said Primary and Seconday Education Minister Suresh Kumar on Friday.
He was speaking during the launch of the app that the department had developed for teachers to help them do their paperwork online such as getting loans, PF advances, availing leave and transfers.
"The Chief Minister has reiterated that holding the SSLC examinations was a matter of pride for our state. 8.5 lakh students maintained social distancing and there was an attendance of 98 percent," said Kumar.
The Chief Minister instilled confidence in us from day one of the SSLC examination, Kumar said, adding that even the examination for PUC students was held for one subject.
"Those who are pushing for the postponing of NEET and JEE should see how smoothly the exams for SSLC students went off," he added.
Kumar also said a teacher friendly and transparent teacher transfer law is being brought in. The transfer process will be started in September, he added.
"Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we created a committee under the chairmanship of educationist MK Sridhar on the use of technology and a report was sought. Based on that, the Vidyagama programme was started to ensure that no student is left out of the learning process. Teachers are going to where students are and teaching them. The programme has caught everyone's attention in the country," he added.
The higher education minister Ashwath Narayan had on Tuesday announced that offline classes for college students will start on October 1, while online classes will start on September 1.
The primary education department is however trying out a different model for imparting education to government school children by allocating teachers based on the vicinity of students rather than on the schools they are affiliated to.
The popularity of the model is known to have caused a number of parents to shift their wards from private schools to government schools even as the official dates for starting the academic year for schools has not yet been announced.
In the meantime, educationist Niranjanaradhya VS noted that opening degree colleges first and schools later is completely against medical research. "Research proves that young children have a lesser probability of being affected by COVID. Yet, people are wrongly advising the state," he said.
He suggested a line of measures including complete disinfection of the college premises in the beginning, ensuring enough sanitisers in the premises, keeping the toilets and premises clean, not having classes for the full day and maintaining physical distancing in the class and outside.