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Amid COVID-19 spike, Karnataka temporarily drops Vidyagama programme for govt school students

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Following a number of teachers and students testing positive for COVID-19 in parts of the state, the government suspended its ambitious Vidyagama programme, which was an academic lifeline for students of government schools.

The programme was meant to keep government school students connected with academics amid the pandemic and served as a major pull towards public education.

Just on Friday, reports emerged from Belagavi and Kalaburagi of more than 30 children and six teachers testing postive for COVID-19, although officials are yet to confirm the figures.

In the programme, the teachers visit the neighbourhoods of students and are supposed to teach them in open spaces as per the health department guidelines. However, there were reports of violations.

With growing incidents of faulty implementation of the programme, and a general angst among parents who have blamed it for the virus spreading to their children, the government put a blanket stop on it statewide.

Taking cognizance of the concerns raised by various stakeholders, the minister of primary and secondary education Suresh Kumar, on Saturday, announced that the programme will be temporarily stopped till the department carries out an analysis on it.

He further stated that the programme was planned keeping the welfare of economically backward families in mind.

Former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy too jumped into the ring to express his opposition to the programme and asked if the government has common sense as it is throwing students and children into a ‘death trap’ with the Vidyagama programme in the middle of the pandemic.

He had also warned of a protest if the government failed to stop the programme.

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