Impact of online classes on children's mental health

Karnataka: Textbooks unavailable while online classes commence

June 8, 2021
– Reshma Ravishanker

Even as several private schools and pre-university colleges have started online classes for the next academic year (2021-11) unmindful of the orders by the education department regarding the commencement of classes students are in a fix as they are unable to find textbooks for study.

Karnataka’s department of primary and secondary education, in a circular last week said that schools will have to commence only online classes for the academic year 2021-22 starting from July 1st, and that parents were allowed to make admissions for the next academic year between June 15 and August 31. Notwithstanding this order by the education department, several private schools have commenced classes. On the other hand, pre-university colleges have started admitting students and started bridge courses without waiting for class 10 or SSLC results to be declared.

The challenges involved for pre-university students and school students are varied with regard to the procurement of textbooks. For pre-university students, availing of textbooks has been a challenge due to the current lockdown situation. Stationery and book stores remaining shuttered since Karnataka was under a lockdown following the onset of the second wave of the pandemic.

“I have had to borrow some textbooks from a senior. For some other core subjects, I have made xerox copies from the images I received through a friend. Not all seniors are willing to share textbooks because they ave to prepare for competitive exams. Most of the textbooks prescribed are unavailable online,” said Raghavendra (name changed), a first PU student who has availed a provisional seat in one of the south Bengaluru colleges.

Similar is the case for students attending online classes in private schools which have commenced classes for the next academic year. Although the department of primary and secondary education has allowed the reopening of schools from July 1, an official communication from the minister’s office mentioned that the department would require at least two more months to distribute textbooks to all students.

The Karnataka Textbooks society has issued guidelines to respective Block Education Officers to collect textbooks from the students who have passed out and make it accessible for the freshers. The Society has cited lockdown as a reason for publishing textbooks late.

“PDF files have been distributed in some schools. Old students have been ask to hand it over but students unable to collect it. Schools have textbooks but are asking for the admission fees to avail copies. It is unfair for students. Such incidents are reported on e-mail which is not addressed. Parents are unable to go to BEO offices due to fear of COVID-19,” said Nagasimha G Rao, a child rights activist. 

Also read: Karnataka: 500 private schools on the brink of closure

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