Schools caught off guard by govt. decision to suspend classes

Many of them are midway through examination process

The State government’s decision to suspend physical classes for students from standards VI to IX first in Bengaluru and then extend the rule to the rest of Karnataka on Friday has come as a surprise to private school managements who are worried about the academic schedule. While some schools, especially those affiliated with the Central board, have completed the examination and declared holidays, they remain in the minority.

Many schools were midway through the examination process, which they have now decided to cancel or conduct online. Teachers, however, are not enthusiastic about assessing students online, having learned from the mid-term examination process where a large number of students reportedly indulged in malpractice, some, even with the help of their parents. Mansoor Ali Khan, member, board of management, Delhi Public Group of Schools, said they had started examination on campus a few days ago for high school students. “But now we have decided to revert to online evaluation as schools will have to be closed,” he said.

D. Shashi Kumar, general secretary of the Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, said assessments had been severely affected as they had not conducted examination for students even in the previous academic year. “If we had been given another week, we would have been able to complete classes and hold examinations that were scheduled to be conducted offline,” he said.

The evaluation process for government school students in classes VI to IX is yet to be finalised. Lokesh Talikatte, State unit president, Recognised Unaided Private Schools’ Association, Karnataka, said while many private school students have attended classes online, students of government schools have suffered immensely. “There is a need for a bridge course so that such students are not left back academically,” he said.

Parents, however, have welcomed the government’s decision as children appear to be more susceptible to COVID-19 during this current second wave. Deepthi S., mother of a class IX student in a CBSE-affiliated school said, “The school has said they will conduct the assessment by evaluating papers that students have already given. In subjects where the examinations have not been held, the school will take the average of the previous assessments.”

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