Karnataka bans online education for children from KG to 5th standard

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Karnataka state Department of Primary and Secondary Education on Wednesday ordered a ban on online classes for children from KG to class 5. This moves gives a big relief to thousands of parents, teachers and children who were struggling to cope with the new normal of online classes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Based on the report submitted by director NIMHANS, recommending online classes only above the age of 6 years and also following the complaints from several parents about online classes conducted by private schools even for kindergarten kids, the department has announced this decision on Wednesday.

Briefing the media soon after the meeting with department officials, S Suresh Kumar, primary and secondary education minister said, “We have taken two major decisions today. The online classes for LKG, UKG and primary classes should be stopped immediately.”

Even collecting fees in the name of online classes should be stopped, said the minister. “We have already issued a circular about it insisting that schools not collect fees in the name of online classes and also requesting schools not to increase fees for the 2020-21 academic year considering financial constraints of several people due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said the minister.

The department, however, also discussed how to engage children during this period as there was no clarity over the reopening of schools for the 2020-21 academic year. “We have constituted a committee to prepare guidelines on how to engage students and increase their knowledge. The committee is headed by Prof. MK Sridhar,” he said.

Before taking this decision, the department had three rounds of discussions with various experts, including Prof. MK Sridhar, Prof. VP Niranjan Aradhya, Dr John Vijay Sagar and other departments, including the home and health departments.