State govt. set to recommence Vidyagama, this time in schools
Students to be allowed to attend classes in small batches with parents’ approval
The State government is set to restart the Vidyagama scheme in a new format and with more safety measures. Instead of teachers visiting students in their neighbourhoods and conducting classes in small batches, the initiative will now take place in government, aided and private schools.
In a press release, Minister for Primary and Secondary Education S. Suresh Kumar said students, after approval from parents, can come to the school premises to attend Vidyagama classes in small batches. They will have to wear masks and maintain social distance. Classes will be held in batches of 15 to 20 depending on the availability of teachers and infrastructure at the school.
They will be taken in shifts comprising three classes of 45 minutes each in the morning and afternoon. In a day, students will be asked to come in seven to eight batches, said the press release.
Children will be subjected to thermal screening; those who have symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed to attend. For standard 10, classes will be conducted in the first shift daily. The guidelines state that for students of standard 8 and 9, classes would be conducted on alternate days between 2 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. For grade 1 to 5, classes will be on alternate days.
The government stopped Vidyagama in October this year after reports of students and teachers contracting COVID-19. However, with a drop in number of cases, there has been a growing demand among students in government schools to re-initiate the scheme as a majority do not have access to Internet or smartphones and laptops.
The Minister said the scheme would be implemented in the new format with safety measures as per the High Court’s advice. Local body institutions have been assigned to take on sanitisation work.
The government has directed the CEO of the zilla panchayat of each district to supervise the implementation of Vidyagama.
Mr. Kumar maintained that the scheme should not be considered as a full-scale opening of schools. The new format has been introduced as per advice from local students and their families. “Vidyagama will help children who have been deprived of online education,” he said in the release.
Ongoing online classes and those being telecast on TV will continue.