Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar has issued orders to take strict action against schools in Karnataka that are conducting physical classes for students of Classes 1 to 5 without prior permission from the state government. In a note issued on Monday, S Suresh Kumar said that permission to run physical classes was granted only for students of Classes 6 and above, based on the opinion of the COVID-19 technical committee of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Recently, several reports said that several schools were found conducting physical classes for classes below 6, though the government had not allowed it. â€śAcross the state, instances of a few private schools running classes 1-5 have been reported in the media. Acting without the permission of the government like this is illegal,â€ť the Minister said.
Karnataka Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar had also taken to Twitter last week asking the Education Minister to take action against schools who are asking students of Class 1-6 to come to school. Sudhakar had asked the Minister to cancel the schoolsâ€™ licenses in case of any violation.
Minister S Suresh Kumar has ordered officials concerned to create taluk-level teams that would investigate and take strict legal action against such educational institutions. He has also ordered officials to release relevant circulars and oversee the process.
Speaking to TNM, D Shashi Kumar, General Secretary, Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka alleged that the government has a different yardstick for private and government schools in the state.
â€śPrivate schools had to struggle to conduct online classes for the students below Class 6. They had to shell out money to arrange gadgets for holding online classes. Government schools, on the other hand, did not have online classes and the students were asked to learn from Doordarshan. Why didnâ€™t the government provide them with online classes? Why are all rules applicable only to private schools? Besides, they are asking us to slash the school fees, which will further drive us into the ground,â€ť said Shashi.
On February 16, the Karnataka government had announced that schools for Classes 6, 7 and 8, except for those in Bengaluru and districts bordering Kerala, will reopen for physical classes from February 22. In Bengaluru and districts adjoining Kerala, however, schools for only Class 8 will open from February 22, Karnataka Education Minister S Suresh Kumar said.
The districts bordering Kerala include Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, Mysuru and Chamarajanagar. Earlier, the Karnataka government had allowed students of classes 9 and 11 to join their seniors on campus from February 1. Regular classes for 10 and 12 had already begun starting from January 1. Teachers were made to take a COVID-19 test before reporting to take classes in Karnataka.