Bengaluru: S. Suresh Kumar, Karnataka's primary and secondary education minister on Wednesday said that online classes for students between lower kindergarten (LKG) and fifth grade shall be banned with immediate effect in the state.
Kumar said in a statement that the government arrived at the decision after meeting with educational experts, mental health professionals, representatives of private institutions and other stakeholders.
The decision to ban online classes amid pandemic comes after complaints by parents and guardians about the increased strain and impact on the health of young children due to additional screen time.
Several schools have ad opted online classes in order not to fall behind in syllabus. Schools,colleges and other educational institutions remain closed due to the lockdown and the Karnataka government is yet to take a decision on reopening them due a sudden surge in positive cases in the state.
Even experts at National Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (NIMHANS) have advocated against online classes and additional screen time for such young students.
The meeting chaired by Kumar on Wednesday with experts and stakeholders decided that pre-recorded classes can continue for students till fifth grade.
However, the government has also formed a committee to draft guidelines on online classes for students beyond sixth grade.
Several parents have complained about the pressure children have had to endure from their schools to catch up with syllabus and make up for lost time due to the lockdown.
A statement from the education department also states that any school found charging fees for online classes will be penalised. Kumar also said that any institution that has raised fees will also be pulled up.