BENGALURU: Less than a week after the higher education department opened colleges in Karnataka, the government decided to keep schools and pre university colleges closed in the state.
The decision was announced on Monday by primary and secondary education minister S Suresh Kumar following the report of a technical committee which was constituted by the Chief Minister.
Kumar said apprehensions of a second wave of COVID-19 and the winter season being a major reason for the spread were among the committee's reasons for keeping schools and PU colleges shut.
Addressing mediapersons, Kumar said there were contending perspectives during the discussions -- one, that said schools should not open at all and another that highlighted the increase in social ills such as child labour and child marriage among government school children in rural areas.
"We will have to tackle social ills. Yet the technical advisory committee has given its decision and the most important aspect now is to save lives," he added, saying the decisions were made keeping the welfare of children in mind.
The technical committee will convene in the third week of December to decide on a road ahead for the academic year, as the department is looking at a phased reopening first for older students -- Class 8 and above.
Kumar said board students in Class 10 will have completed 100 percent of their syllabus in December -- classes are taking place on state-run television channel Doordarshan Chandana.
There are 9,59,566 Class 10 students of the state, CBSE and ICSE boards and 5,70,126 pre university board students in the state.
Examination dates will be decided after another round of discussions among officials.
Reliance to join Karnataka's virtual-schooling initiative
Principal Secretary of Department of Primary and Secondary Education Department SR Umashankar said besides the state's initiatives of disseminating educational content on television, YouTube and (the now suspended) Vidyagama programme, private channels have also been approached.
Reliance's Jio TV has come forward to freely broadcast educational content and a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed in this regard, he added.