The Karnataka government Wednesday decided to stop live online classes conducted by schools across the state for students up to the fifth standard.
“Online classes shall not be conducted for pre-primary (LKG, UKG) and primary classes (up to Class 5) henceforth. Such classes will not substitute classroom teaching and might affect the students’ age and mental well-being,” Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister S Suresh Kumar said.
He added that private schools will not be allowed to charge for online teaching. However, pre-recorded classes shall be conducted.
Meanwhile, live online classes will be allowed to continue for secondary classes, Suresh Kumar clarified in Bengaluru after meeting different stakeholders of the education system.
Earlier, a report submitted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) had pointed out that such virtual classes were not ideal for students below the age of six years.
“It is not appropriate for children up to the age of 6 years to have more than an hour of screen time daily,” experts had said.
Responding to criticism from experts that online classes would not be feasible for all across the state, due to financial and infrastructure-related challenges as well, Suresh Kumar said, “It is also important to ensure the gap between ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ does not increase.”
According to officials of the education department, the Karnataka Department of Public Instruction will issue detailed guidelines for the same soon. “These guidelines are likely to specify recommended screen-time for children of different age groups. Suggestions from different stakeholders including parents, teachers, and school management will also be sought,” an official added.