Express news service
BENGALURU: The Minister of Primary and Secondary Education BC Nagesh, a new cabinet member, oversaw the conduct of the SSLC and PUC II exams as well as the restart of offline courses for grades 9 to 12 from 23 August. From Monday, students in grades 6-8 in public schools will also begin taking classes offline.
“On the advice of the CM, offline classes for all children will be restarted gradually. The interests of children who do not have access to smartphones and the Internet will be at the forefront of our minds,” he said. . The new Indian express. Excerpts from an interview:
What has been the experience since resuming offline lessons for students in grades 9-12?
About 75 percent of public school students take offline classes across Karnataka. Many parents were very keen to see regular classes resume because they were concerned about the education of their wards. The teachers were also worried.
Of course, some parents called me to tell me that classes should not resume until the vaccination was 100% complete. During my visits, some students in places like Belagavi, Dharwad and Yadgir have requested an extension of classes for the full day. They feel that the limited hours make no difference as they have to travel from remote locations.
What percentage of teachers and staff in public schools have been vaccinated so far?
About 2.6 lakh of teachers and staff, which means over 95%, have been vaccinated and we will soon reach 100% vaccination. So far, not even a single case of school or college closures due to the spread of infection has come to my attention.
In the coming days, much younger children will be taking lessons offline. What is your opinion on this?
We will not force parents to send their children to offline classes, but would like to draw their attention to the expert report that children are not prone to COVID-19 infection. Our intention is that children do not miss out on education. All precautionary measures are observed.
Some cases of infection among students have been reported and there is a spike on certain days
But there is no spread as such, as cases have declined. Shiggaon did not report any positive cases on Thursday and in Haveri District the positivity rate is 0.1%. When there was no sign of the community spreading, should we still have doubts about resuming classes?
Although there have been no studies, the possibility of collective immunity in Karnataka cannot be excluded. Otherwise, COVID-19, which has increased in neighboring Kerala, would have had a huge impact on Mangaluru.
Have you surveyed students who take courses offline?
Yes, out of 6,41,614 samples, only 14 students tested positive and it gave us a boost to move forward with the reopening of offline classes. With the exception of Mangaluru, where the positivity rate is over 2%, the infection is under control statewide.
Even in Mangaluru, the deputy commissioner has the power to make a decision because in some taluks the positivity rate is low and elected officials have insisted on restarting offline courses for children.
Are you planning to implement NEP in primary and secondary education as well?
Yes, probably from the next academic year. We need to address three issues – structural, academic and administrative – for which a working group will be set up. The program and guidelines must be prepared. It will be introduced statewide all at once.
There are complaints about Sanskrit being ignored as an optional language.
There is a feeling that if Sanskrit is offered as an option, students may not learn the mother tongue, which the NEP emphasizes.
As a minister for the first time, how eager are you to attend the session?
Since I am a second legislator, I am confident. If necessary, I will learn from my elders. In fact, my party has trained me throughout my political career on how to be a good administrator.
Are there any allegations the private school lobby played a role in restarting offline classes?
I don’t mind such allegations. We only care about the interests of the students. Our main concern is for students in public schools who do not have access to the internet and smartphones.
If we had not restarted the classes, there would have been allegations that the government does not care about the education of 30-40% of children from backward areas and communities. Some private lessons are still not engaged in offline lessons. We plan to go ahead in stages and start the lessons from class 1. If there is any problem, we can consider closing the lessons offline.