June 25, 2020
Education Minister of Karnataka has relentlessly worked to conduct the SSLC examination from 25-06-2020 taking all precautions during this crisis ridden time without compromising with the safety of the students. He deserves all praise for this bold step which will be commended by the people of Karnataka in particular and nation in general. The precautions taken for the SSLC Exam to be held from 25th June is impeccable and commendable.
The woes of the students from underprivileged and slow learning backgrounds were well understood by the Government. By banning the online classes the Govt. of Karnataka have made a level playing field for all the students. The parents and their wards who could not afford to have laptops, Android phones and internet connectivity heaved a sigh of relief when they heard about banning the online classes.
Right from the ancient ages, a child had to get his/her formal education in Gurukuls, not at home. The virtual online classes can never be a substitute for classroom teaching. The fact is that without the teacher, a student cannot concentrate on his/her studies which have a vital role to play in grooming the child. We cannot curtail a student’s school life for a long period. There are five areas of development like creativity, language, cognitive, social and emotional and physical development. Without going to the school for nearly 6 months or so what would be the present mental condition of a student? How the students would feel when they did not have access to their long-time associates in the school? What agony do they undergo when they are deprived of meeting their classmates whom they consider as their friends of life? Only the Psychologists can better analyse it. No educationist in the world ever said that schooling is not very essential. But, yes in the present scenario of Covid-19 pandemic we need to revisit these matters carefully bearing in mind the safety of the children. Apparently, no parent would risk sending their children to the school when the atmosphere is not conducive to learning. But how long can we continue like this? The Government with the help of child psychologists and teachers must find a way out right now and the schools to be reopened at the earliest. If not in one go; a staggered approach can be adopted wherein the Class X may be opened in the beginning and thereafter rest of the classes in a phased manner.
Think about the pathetic condition of any unaided schools in Karnataka. They did not get the reimbursement of RTE students’ for the last 2 years. They could not collect the pending fees for the last academic year from the parents. The present year’s fees they could not collect because of the government order. Parents are not ready to pay the fees when the date for reopening is not certain. At the same time, their liabilities creep on. Teachers’ salary has to be paid whether the schools function or not. All the other commitments have to be fulfilled in regard to expenditure. Hence it would be a solace for all stakeholders including the students if the schools reopen at the earliest without compromising the students’ safety.