On Friday parents of 23 children in Belagavi claimed that their children got COVID-19 as they were attending classes under the Vidyagama programme.

B Suresh KumarRepresentation photo
news Education Saturday, October 10, 2020 - 14:28

After public outrage over Karnataka government’s Vidyagama programme, the Primary and Secondary Education Minister B Suresh Kumar on Saturday said that he has instructed the education department officials to temporarily stop the programme. Vidyagama programme began two months ago after which district administrations in Belagavi and Kalaburagi conducted random COVID-19 tests for schoolchildren. Twenty-three students in Belagavi and four in kalaburagi tested positive for the coronavirus in the last two weeks.

“I have noticed the opinions expressed in some sectors regarding the Vidyagama program that has been implemented in the state. Vidyagama program was implemented by keeping the welfare of the children of the economically backward families in mind. However, the Principal Secretary of the Education Department has been directed to temporarily stop the Vidyagama program until its relevant analysis is completed by the Education Department,” B Suresh Kumar wrote in a Facebook post.

Under the Vidyagama scheme, teachers at government schools had to go door to door, gather students at an open place like a playground or temple near their residences and give them notes and clarify doubts regarding the lessons taught they were learning. 

While this programme brought relief to students who did not have access to the internet, parents in the M Thimmapur village in Belagavi district's Ramdurg did not allow teachers to even enter the village on Friday after 23 students tested positive. They claimed that the teachers were constantly travelling and spreading the infection to the children. 

According to Hebbala, President of the Belagavi Government Teachers' Union, 15 teachers contracted COVID-19 in the district in the last two months alone. The total number of teachers who contracted the virus in the district since March this year stands at 57. 

In Kalaburagi district's Mashal village located in Afzalpur taluk, four children tested positive in a randomised test was conducted two weeks ago.

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