Karnataka: Caught off guard, education department scrambles to keep children engaged over next two weeks | Bangalore News

BENGALURU: The government’s sudden decision to close schools has left the education department struggling with ways to involve children over the next two weeks. As the department plans to restart Vidyagama and continue with midday meals, approvals and program roll-out will take time, leaving children without activities for the next few days.
Vishal R, commissioner of the education department, said the announcement caught them off guard. “We will ask for lunch and Vidyagama. I will propose a file for the approval of the secretary and the minister ”, he declared. “But we need to strengthen plans, mobilize teachers, ensure their transport and the distribution of midday meals. It will all depend on approvals. ”
Vishal said although the closure is limited to Bengaluru, it could be extended to other districts later. “So we need a big picture. We will have more clarity by next week, ”he said.
Private schools said they would switch to online classes, although many admitted this was not an ideal option.
“Online classes are not as effective as physical classes, but we have no choice,” said Dr Shashi Kumar, secretary of the Association of Primary and Secondary School Directors of Karnataka. “We are unhappy with the decision to close the schools. While all other areas are functioning, why should only schools be closed? Why is education not a priority?
Educators said the department should learn from the previous two waves and not try online courses for public schools. Rishikesh BS, professor at Azim Premji University, said faculty should provide children with worksheets on skills already learned, which could serve as reinforcement as well as assessment. “They should publish at least four books from the library and have them read novels and other age-appropriate works,” he said.
However, the DPI said it was virtually impossible to immediately publish worksheets. “How can we get there so soon?” Where can we print so many worksheets. We are talking about lakhs of children. He will also need financial support. We will have to make a plan, ”Vishal said.
Midday meals also remain a concern since children will be deprived of the facility. Sumedha Rao, senior volunteer, Whitefield Ready, said this was a major concern.
“The government should allow midday meals on campus,” Rao said. “When not in class, they can give themselves a larger window of probably three hours where the children can come in, have lunch and meet the teachers. The Karnataka State High School Teachers Association said it would await guidance from the department on how to conduct classes for students in grades 8 and 9 in Bengaluru.
“Online courses are not possible for public schools. We had divided the students on accessibility to gadgets during the previous confinement. But the plan has to come from the department, ”said Manjunath HK, president of the teachers’ association.
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