The Karnataka government has tentatively allowed schools to conduct online classes, following a petition in the High Court challenging the ban on live and pre-recorded online classes for children in classes below standard 5. The permission has been granted until the government receives the report from the expert committee formed by the Department of Public Instruction.
The state government has put out a schedule of the amount of time each level of student can have for online classes:
LKG and UKG: 30 minutes a week
Classes 1-5: 30-45 minutes (in two sessions) every alternate day
Classes 6-8: 30-45 minutes (two sessions a day) for five days a week
Classes 9 and 10: 30-45 minutes (four sessions a day) for five days a week
Earlier this month, the Karnataka government had banned online classes for students below class five. The government had cited the advice from NIMHANS, which stated that children below five should not be forced to have that prolonged screen time. Several groups had also raised objections to online classes citing lack of access for children from lower-income families, or children living in rural areas.
While the government proposed classes through television, Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka had observed that this was not much different from online classes.
The High Court had asked the government to look into allowing online classes until the report from the expert committee comes in. The expert committee, which comprises health experts, educationists and child psychologists, among other stakeholders, will submit its report on how children can be engaged, including the permitted screen time for each age group.
The petition to the High Court was filed by several interested parties, especially from parents and private schools. The next hearing in the case is scheduled for Monday, June 29.