Primary and Secondary Education Minister says no activity beyond getting doubts clarified will be allowed on campus
A day after the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued the standard operating procedure (SOP) for partial reopening of schools for students of classes nine to 12 on a “voluntary basis”, Karnataka’s Primary and Secondary Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar on Wednesday said no activity beyond getting doubts clarified would be allowed on the school campus. In the light of the pandemic and time lost this academic year, Mr. Kumar said for the 2020–21 academic year, they had reduced stress on examinations and expect the principles of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) to come in handy. Excerpts from an interview.
What is the State government’s plan on implementing the Centre’s direction on partial opening of schools from September 21?
The government of Karnataka has in fact gone a step ahead and already arranged regular student-teacher interaction. School premises are not used for teaching and students of all classes can interact with teachers in public places. This has caught the attention of many other States too. Now that the Central government has come up with the SOP for partial resumption of schools, we will have to see diverse possibilities.
The direction says students can visit schools for guidance of teachers. Is it only to clarify doubts or to attend classes?
On the face of it, it looks like the students are expected to come to schools to clarify their doubts with their teachers. So any activity beyond it is not allowed. We will also see how the Ministry of Education is framing its plan of action based on this SOP by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
More than four months of the academic year has been lost owing to the pandemic. What is the focus for this academic year?
It is true that much of the time is lost. Vidyagama and Samveda are designed not just to hone the skills of students but also to continue their academics. If you look at the guidelines of Vidyagama, every minute detail has been addressed there. We already have a blueprint for the current year with a reduced stress on examinations.
The principles of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation must come in handy this year for assessing the performance of our children.
Will schools bear the expenses of teachers if they test positive for COVID-19?
Schools will be expected to exercise all necessary precautions and they are also expected to take care of their teachers as well as their students in the best possible manner.