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Karnataka resumes online classes, expert committee releases guidelines

online classes resume for Karnataka students

Uplifting the blanket ban on online classes, the Government of Karnataka has permitted to resume online classes for school students. The much-awaited report by expert committee was submitted on July 7, 2020 releasing a set of guidelines.

Update: High Court stays govt ban on online classes

The High Court of Karnataka states that the govt ban on online classes was against the Fundamental Right to Life and Education. The division bench observed, “Prima facie we are of the view that both orders of June 15 and June 27 enroached upon the Fundamental Right conferred by Article 21 and 21A of the Constitution of India. There cannot be any dispute that academic term for this year has already commenced. Only way of providing education was by providing facility of online coaching/online training.”

The Court also clarified that this order should not be construed to mean that students who do not opt for online education should be deprived of their normal education as an when the schools are able to start education.

Report by Expert Committee: Guidelines for Online Classes

The committee’s report – “Continuation of Learning in School Education of Karnataka” puts a limit to screen time for students. In the report, committee states that the recordings of the live sessions should be made accessible with adequate cyber protection in place.

Preethi Vickram, Founder Director, LIFE (Leadership Initiative for Educators), Early Childhood Association, Karnataka Committee Member

The proceedings of the committee were undertaken in a democratic manner, allowing everyone a voice,” states Member of the Committee for Technology Enabled Communication, Preethi Vickram
Founder Director, LIFE (Leadership Initiative for Educators), Early Childhood Association, Karnataka Committee Member. “I’m happy that the recommendations by ECA have become the basis for the guidelines given in the report for 3-6 yr olds’ pedagogical needs and format of online programming. As the title of the report says, the guidelines have been drafted keeping in mind technology as an enabler and various other mediums have been addressed too. The recommendations are holistic and have taken into account all strata of the society as well as all types of learners.”

For Pre-Primary (3-6 years)
  • Screen Time per session: 30 minutes
  • Maximum sessions per day: one
  • Number of sessions per week: 3 days
  • Presence of parents: Mandatory
For Classes I-II (1st and 2nd grades)
  • Screen Time per session: 30 minutes
  • Maximum sessions per day: two
  • Number of sessions per week: 3 days
  • Presence of parents: Mandatory
For Classes III-V (3rd to 5th grades)
  • Screen Time per session: 30 minutes
  • Maximum sessions per day: two
  • Number of sessions per week: 5 days
  • Presence of parents: Preferable
For Classes VI-VIII (6th to 8th grades)
  • Screen Time per session: 30 – 45 minutes
  • Maximum sessions per day: three
  • Number of sessions per week: 5 days
  • Presence of parents: Optional
For Classes IX-X (9th to 10th grades)
  • Screen Time per session: 30 – 45 minutes
  • Maximum sessions per day: four
  • Number of sessions per week: 5 days
Committee recommends a judicious mix of interactive and non-interactive methods
Dr Swati Popat Vats, President, Early Childhood Association, Association for Primary Education and Research, Podar Education Network

Dr Swati Popat Vats, President, Early Childhood Association, Association for Primary Education and Research, Podar Education Network says, “ECA is happy with the new guidelines released by Karnataka government on online learning.  We are especially glad that both synchronous and asynchronous learning is now part of the guidelines for preschool to grade two. It is important that children are exposed to hybrid learning during this long break from physical school. The years between 3 to 7 are indeed foundational years for learning and learning to learn. We hope that other governments also lift their blanket ban and follow the Karnataka model of setting up an expert committee to recommend guidelines.  ECA was part of this committee and had submitted its Remote learning manual also in this committee.”

The committee has recommended a blended approach in the report. An approach which has a judicious mix of interactive and non-interactive methods, active and passive methods, synchronous and asynchronous methods need to be ensured while using technology in teaching and learning. Digital sessions cannot be stand alone. The teachers should be in contact with each child through various means.

Experts say No to ‘one size fits all’ 

The report also emphasizes on the need of innovating in education practices. It states, “All innovative solutions must be used to keep the child’s interest at the centre and acknowledged that there was no “one size fits all’.”

Gayethri Devi, Member, CISCE Board and Principal, Little Flower Public School, Bengaluru

“It’s very important for us take a statistical analysis of one’s school no matter in which nook and corner of the country it is located,” asserts Gayethri Devi, Member, CISCE Board and Principal, Little Flower Public School, Bengaluru. “If it is a school in the rural area, then the statistical analysis of- the parent, the first generation and second generation learners, how literate they are- vary from the children who are living in a town. Definitely, it would vary to a larger extent with children who are in the city.”

Schools should have the independence to understand their parents, their children and deliver as per the need of the school, she adds. Giving a nod to the initiative of online classes for students, she shares, “As a school we have been conducting enrichment activity right from April and for higher classes, textbook based teaching was ensured. There’s one important element- the bond between school and student- which is often overlooked but this bond should never be broken. Children should be in touch with the school and the school must enrich the children on day to day basis.

“Evidently, in a pandemic like this, the worst hit are the children because they can’t go out. They are like caged birds, but they have wings and they need to fly. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, we are not able to send the children outside but atleast we can meaningfully engage them through online classes. So, children should not be deprived from any platform that they get to learn. Learning is continuous and learning is nothing but growing. So, you can’t stop one’s growth.”

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