The Karnataka government on Wednesday announced that live virtual classes cannot be held for students of lower kindergarten, upper kindergarten and primary classes (Class 1 to 5) in the state. Pre-recorded classes, however, will continue for those classes. Fees for online teaching for these classes will also be halted with immediate effect.
Some schools in Karnataka have been holding live classes for students from Classes 4 to 7 and even for lower grades. These will immediately be halted till class 5. The announcement was made by Karnataka Education Minister Suresh Kumar in a press conference held on Wednesday. Online classes can continue for secondary classes.
The minister added that a committee will be formed to discuss how to engage students and the modalities of both online and pre-recorded classes.
It was noted that many complaints around online classes were received from parents from across the state. On June 2, a meeting was held with those working in education, psychiatrists and other experts to discuss the issue.
â€śThe screen time for certain classes and what will be appropriate will be discussed later. For now, we have made this decision for LKG, UKG and primary classes, considering their age and mental well-being,â€ť the minister told the media.
Earlier, experts from NIMHANS had stated that virtual classes ideally should not be held for students up to Class 3. Citing the World Health Organisationâ€™s recommendation, Dr BN Gangadhar had told TNM that those under 6 years of age should not have more than one hour of screen time.
The decision to have online classes for children has received a lot of criticism across the country. For one, it is based on the assumption that everyone has access to a laptop or computer as well as steady internet services to attend these classes. Further, the move also came without proper norms.