BENGALURU: The Karnataka government has decided to resume its flagship programme, Vidyagama, for school students from January 1. This time, the programme has also been rolled out for private aided and unaided schools, and classes can be held on the school premises for half a day, but not inside classrooms.
Vidyagama, that started on August 8, was stopped temporarily on October 10.
Primary and Secondary Education Minister Suresh Kumar said that Vidyagama had saved rural students from child labour and marriage. Vidyagama will be allowed in government-aided and unaided schools premises, even as online and Chandana Vahini classes continue. As per expert committee recommendations, classes will be conducted in a scientific manner, the minister said. Teachers of respective regions have been tasked with making out lists of students who can be grouped together.
Rural private schools have also expressed interest in holding classes, and the government has allowed budget schools to start teaching on similar lines on their premises. For continuity in learning, Vidyagama has been an effective tool, with positive feedback from teachers and parents. Intricacies of the programme are being ironed out and measures have been listed for the Vidyagama programme:
- Students will have to compulsorily wear masks, maintain social distance in school
- Thermal scanner check when entering the premises
- Use of sanitiser, soap, other sanitation measures will be followed, local social service bodies will also ensure sanitation
- Students only need to bring their own water
- ZP CEO to oversee execution of programme, DDPIs to be implementation officers
- Parental letter, permission compulsory
- Student-teacher ratio to be maintained, groups of 15-20 students to be formed, 7-8 groups to be allowed per dayThree classes to be held, each a 45-minute session
‘Textbooks not revised’
The government has not revised textbooks or created a new chapter, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education Suresh Kumar said, in response to political turmoil over a Social Science chapter for Class 6. It was alleged to have disgraced the Brahmin community. He said on social media that seers had contacted him personally to express their sentiments, and that steps would be taken to rectify the chapter. The state government was caught in a controversy after knocking out several chapters pertaining to religious and political leaders from the Social Science textbook, when reducing syllabus by 30 per cent. He said the department will decide on the syllabus cut after school reopening dates are finalised.
We have made Vidyagama more liberal so that if a student, with the consent of his/her parents, wishes to come to school to learn in spite of possessing any other facility, he/she too is allowed. Let me emphasise once again that this is not conventional classroom learning. We will have to ensure our children learn in some way or the other since education is every child’s right and the government has the responsibility of ensuring it. Preparations for hygiene and the safe conduct of classes in schools have been detailed in the circular submitted to the Karnataka High Court.
The local authorities will support the department’s efforts. It’s a collective resolve of many departments of the government to ensure our children’s learning. Vidyagama is a programme that supplements our students’ learning in the best possible manner. This could be the best possible solution to tide over the prevailing situation. Whenever the situation is conducive, we will start regular classes. We are ready with all preparations to start face-to-face classes for Classes 10 and 12 anytime soon. It all depends on the opinion of the Technical Advisory Committee, whose meeting is planned tomorrow S Suresh Kumar, Education Minister (As told to Pearl Maria DSouza)