Private schools planning to restart classes 8 and 9 in Karnataka
While the State government has yet to take a call on whether students besides those in classes 10 and 12 should attend lectures on campus, many private school managements plan to open their doors to students in classes 8 and 9 as early as next week. At least six schools have asked parents to send consent letters stating that they want to resume classes soon. Schools affiliated with the Central as well as State boards have sent such letters.
The State government, however, has given schools permission to run classes only for II PU and class 10 students as they will have to sit for the board examinations later this year. Education officers had said that a decision on resuming other classes would be taken after January 15.
A parent whose daughter studies in class 8 at a private school at Vijayanagar said that he received a consent letter to sign from his daughter’s school. The letter, a copy of which is with The Hindu, stated that the school was planning to reopen for high school students from January 11. “Your consent to send your child is required on or before the 7th of January 2021,” the letter read. It also stated that classes would be conducted in two batches — the first from 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and the second from 2 p.m. to 4.30 p.m.
Many parents are wary of sending their children back to school and are of the opinion that managements are pushing for it as they want them to pay the fees. “I have not paid my child’s school fees yet as I am not satisfied with the manner in which online classes are held. I feel that once students return to campus, we will be forced to pay the fees,” said a parent of a class 8 student at a private school in Bengaluru.
A management member of a school in north Bengaluru said that it was the parents who were pushing for an early resumption of classes 8 and 9. “They feel that the education of their children has taken a back seat and that learning has halted. Health experts anticipate a second wave of COVID-19 infection, so we want to conduct at least a few classes this month before the cases increase,” he said.
‘Govt. will take action’
Officials of the Department of Public Instruction, however, pointed out that action would be taken against school managements if they conducted regular classes before the State government took a call on the matter. “They can, however, conduct the Vidyagama programme on campus in an outdoor space to clear the doubts of students from classes 6 to 9. If we get complaints from parents that regular classes are being conducted, we will initiate action against those schools,” the official said.
Saying that schools were violating government orders by deciding to restart classes, B.N. Yogananda, general secretary of RTE Students and Parents’ Association, called for strict government action against them.