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Online classes not fair to competitive students — Karnataka minister on why colleges must open

Karnataka is first state to announce reopening of colleges. Higher Education Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan says govt may consider no-holiday academic year to complete syllabi.

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Bengaluru: Karnataka’s Higher Education Minister and Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan said the state’s decision to reopen colleges was driven by the need to provide a competitive environment to students.

Karnataka is the first state in the country to announce the reopening of colleges. The state had Wednesday announced that while the 2020-21 academic session for pre-university and degree colleges will begin online from 1 September, regular classes will commence from 1 October.

Speaking to ThePrint, Narayan said, “We have to learn to live with the virus. We need to start the academic year. We may also consider a no-holiday academic year to ensure that the syllabi is completed.”

Karnataka has already taken the lead in this aspect, having conducted the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) exam in June and the Common Entrance Test (CET), for admission to professional engineering and medical colleges, in July.

The minister said sticking with online classes would make the courses akin to “distance education” and would not be “fair to students who are competitive”.

“Students will have projects, practical classes. They need to interact with each other, generate ideas and learn from each others’ personality. How long will you have online classes?” Narayan asked.

Also read: Karnataka pvt hospitals say won’t be able to pay staff if govt doesn’t clear Rs 35-cr dues

‘Safety protocols will be in place’

Narayan, a medical doctor, also emphasised that safety protocols will be maintained, staggered classes will be held and colleges will be sensitised on Covid-19 regulations.

“Students will have to wear masks. Sanitising the premises every few hours will be compulsory,” he said. “Colleges will have to ensure that they keep a close watch on students who may show signs of fever or cold. They should be shifted to the nearest testing centre. The onus is on the colleges to implement safety measures.”

On how the government plans to conduct online classes, the minister said the state government is waiting for guidelines from the central government.

“We have chalked out a comprehensive plan to start offline classes in line with the guidelines set by UGC,” he said. “Once we get instructions from the Centre (on online classes), we will implement that as well.”

Final-year exams

Another major decision that has been taken by the higher education department is to conduct the final-year and backlog examinations for all undergraduate, diploma and engineering students starting September.

The Supreme Court Friday made it clear that states will have to conduct the final years exams as mandated by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

Narayan said that the state government does fear any backlash. “It is unfair for those students who have been preparing for these examinations since Grade 10,” he said. “It is their future and we will ensure all things take place smoothly. Didn’t we conduct the tenth and twelfth examinations without hurdles? This should be no problem.”

With protests going on against the government’s decision to conduct the Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) and the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) offline, Narayan said those opposing this have “vested interests”.

NEET is scheduled to be held on 13 September, while JEE Mains is to take place between 1 and 6 September.

“Just like all the other examinations conducted until now, the state will coordinate with the Centre for conducting NEET successfully,” he told ThePrint.

Also read: Karnataka’s ex-IPS officer ‘Singham’ Annamalai joins BJP, will fight polls from Tamil Nadu

Students, colleges prepared to resume session

Karnataka has close to 15 lakh students pursuing undergraduate courses and nearly 4 lakh students attending post graduate courses, according to educationists in the state.

When ThePrint contacted several associations representing undergraduate and graduate colleges, the general view was that they are prepared to conduct classes. The college managements, however, are awaiting directions from the government on how to go about it.

“The students are prepared to attend classes. It is their parents who are worried for their well-being and are restricting them from attending regular college,” said Dr H. Prakash, president, Karnataka Government Teachers Association.

“You will not believe it, we have started classes for MCom and MSc in government colleges and the response has been overwhelming,” he added.

Prakash said online classes do not compensate for real classroom teaching.

M.K. Panduranga Setty, president of the Karnataka Unaided Private Engineering Colleges’ Association (KUPECA), however, said he wasn’t sure if it is the right time to start the academic session.

“The UGC decided to start classes as it believes the pandemic situation may get better by then (October). But if you see media reports, the cases are increasing. If this is the trend, it will be difficult to hold regular classes,” Setty said.

Also read: Bengaluru gets 3 police chiefs in 14 months — why the post is mired in controversy


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  1. Well I am a first year MSc student. To be very frank all the crap that has been spoken by our “honourable” ministers are just a thing to say. But we being students understand what happens actually in the college premises. Thousands of students clubbed together, no space in mess or canteen also told to sit 3-4 in a single bench.
    Well the practicals can be conducted offline may be twice a week rest it can go smoothly online.
    If it’s “unfair” to the “competitive students” they can visit the college the regular hour, everyday and attend the same lecture when delivered online.
    Next being in a private university comes the compulsion of attendance. As if you are forced to go to the college else you will be debarred. So in this situations what should we do ?

  2. I am 2pu student . In online class how we can study and how we can write 2puc board exam on this year wt solution . If u open college means we should understand other wise online class what we can understand and what we can study in online class for this year what pu University will tell ?.

    • I am 2puc student from science branch can I able to discontinue my class and join for next academic year as usual

  3. Online is best option this year. Covid cases are increasing every day . Don’t open schools and colleges this year .what happens if any child gets infected . So please dont open this year

  4. online is better option please don’t open schools and colleges this year unless a proper vaccine is suitable for all . no regular class this year.P please try to understand covid cases are increasing day by day student health is more important.( Parent of a student)

  5. I am an engineering student of mechanical branch staff are facing problems to explain 3d drawing which is compulsory for us to design new objects we missed some basics of that in first year due to lockdown we thought of going to college but pandemic virus is increasing as per media reports in our locality it’s also increasing parents have fear but according to academic view its better to start colleges we r not getting interested in attending online class due to network issues of both staff &students &we cant learn how to do any experiments in our syallbus practically

  6. He is a pure brainless idiot not having any concernsin on children lives. Wondering whether this Minister doesn’t have family. Cunning fool.

  7. I agree with the decision it’s right time to open now cause I am seeing all students on online classes they are not gaining any knowledge just passing the year . Even me I am just obsessed with environment I wanna to go out and study it’s part of education.when we go out and talk to other people’s it’s improve us and also help a person to come out from over thinking.
    Although all country’s are opening and we also have to one day and if some people are saying about security and all tell me one thing guy’s everything is opening now I had visited market’s and other places there student are also included I don’t think country is closed . Yes we should not open classes 1 to 9 but after that be have to open college’s they are competitive students.
    Really I am in college and now I am just obsessed and not seeing any future. Even I had lose my interest in study.
    Seriously now we have to open college’s and we should others country’s are also opening now .

    • Its ruthless decision. Karnataka is reporting daily 8,000 corona cases and several deaths. Does this Minister wants their children to send to the colleges anidst dead bodies and patients. Iz the education is more important than human licez. Anyway already o line classes are being conducted. Let this continue for this academic year. Even in the word’s biggest economy USA is shaken because of Corona and they too preferred to continue online classes. Realy Ministers like Aswath NarYana are curz to the government and humanity. He also claims Karnataka has conducted SSLC and PUC exams. Actually the exams were conducted without any social distances. Moreover it was in the beginning stage. Now the corona threat is in peak. He is also claiming as ‘ Karnataka is First’ in taking such steps. He should be ashamed to speak like this. Is he attracting industrial investments to make this kind of proud announcements? I can clearly say that Karnataka atanda first in mishandling the students issue. I request the government not to keep colleges and take classes and exams for this academic year since situation is very serious.

  8. Why are even the education minister??
    I really don’t know if you’re educated or not. Talking like an illiterate. This is probably the only profession (teaching) that can go smoothly with online classes. Where do you think we’ll get the money for treatment if we get infected? We aren’t rich like you. And the common washrooms, mess and rooms…. Do you call this “social distancing”?
    Shame on you people to actually even consider opening colleges in october. Feeling so disgusted by the supposedly “Highly literate people”

  9. Very stupid and foolish decision taken by the karnatka govt.Covid cases in india are rising daily approx 78k to 80 k covid cases are coming .And in karnatka on wednesday 10 k case came. And this fool govt want to reopen school and colleges.who will treat if any student get infected. if any one gets infected then for one covid treatment 10 to 15 lac is neede from where poor and middle class people bring if they get infected.the decision of reopening schools and colleges is very stupid by karnatka.I think they want money .They don’t care for student life.Reopening of schools and colleges would create disaster in india then upto 1 lac case will come daily .In usa and israil approx 97k student get infected .This year not to reopen schools and colleges please .covid is in it’s peak

  10. Online classes is a better option, but yeah for competitive students – the system should probably check out for other options..

  11. India has so many cases. Bangalore I getting worst everyday and reopening would make it much worst. The World Health Organization [WHO] said the virus can also transmit through air! Mask always won’t help in protecting us. THIS IS THE WORST TIME TO REOPEN. PLUS LEARN THE NEW NORMAL!!! Using technology is not bad! OUR LIVES ARE MORE IMPORTANTER!!!!

    India is the 2nd most active cases in country thanks to reopening.

  12. I agree with this on one condition.

    They need to install cameras in every college and stream it on the Educational Ministry’s website. Deal?

  13. How will the govt. ensure social distancing in shared hostel rooms, bathrooms, messes?
    Who will care for hostel students if they become covid positive and have to miss classes?. Countries world over are holding online classes in the fall semester. India should do the same. Do not take off hand decisions without consulting students and parents.

  14. How will the govt. ensure social distancing, safety in shared hostels, bathrooms and messes? Who will take care of students if they become covid positive. They will be barred from attending classes affecting their studies . Online classes are the way to go in these precarious times. Countries all over the world are opting for online classes for this fall semester.

  15. This is a rash decision clearly. This is just a decision taken to be the “FIRST STATE TO DO SO”. Stop playing with millions of lives and look at the bigger picture. It is going to increase the cases exponentially and you will not be able to control it. Students travel from all parts of the state and outside the state too, it’s inevitable to not encounter the virus. And you need to stop thinking so traditionally and in such an obsolete way. Online classes can be done at least till normalcy is established in the state. Conducting another semester online will not cause any harm to any student. What is the point of being competitive when you aren’t alive? Think wisely, look into the stats and stop this guesswork. The results are going to be real bad.

  16. How are teachers supposed to teach with mask is my first question. They are also human beings representing different age groups. What guarantee is there for thier lives?
    Sanitization measures will not be followed everywhere as the Government gives guidelines. It is just in paper.In a Country where you cannot expect clean bathrooms ,can you expect sanitised premises and who will oversee the same.?
    Yes the situation is bad,wait till people can venture out safely and then implement what you want to.Taking decisions for which there is no guaranteed outcome will lead nowhere. People are already going through so much uncertainty, don’t add more woes to the same

  17. Being in 21st century and saying online classes are not tye way is mere stupidity…health must be the first priority for classes are same as physical classes if conducted properly…u need to change ur mentality…nothing is more important than health at this point of time….u cant put students as well as their parents life at risk…online clsses should be continued till nrmlcy prevails…u need to travel also to go into colleges or school who will tke tht responsibility…

    • How will you bring the chemistry lab at home?
      How ppl with technical field can do their practicals at home.. How will medical student will practice?????? It’s unfair for us to go to college right?? Why don’t you stand for ppl working in these pandemic..???

      • Well I am a first year MSc student. To be very frank all the crap that has been spoken by our “honourable” ministers are just a thing to say. But we being students understand what happens actually in the college premises. Thousands of students clubbed together, no space in mess or canteen also told to sit 3-4 in a single bench.
        Well the practicals can be conducted offline may be twice a week rest it can go smoothly online.
        If it’s “unfair” to the “competitive students” they can visit the college the regular hour, everyday and attend the same lecture when delivered online.
        Next being in a private university comes the compulsion of attendance. As if you are forced to go to the college else you will be debarred. So in this situations what should we do ?

  18. As a dental student of karnataka I agree to this decision provided that sufficient safety measures are ensured.Medical based students do need a lot of practical training and not just the theory part.But the DCI had asked to start the next academic year with a new set of subjects.They neither allows an all promotion nor an online university exam and they are just waiting for the exams to be conducted offline. when the situation gets better.We have so lost our touch in our previous year subjects and now we have to deal with this year’s as well as previous year’s subjects.And one day they just expect us to c go back and write all the university exams.Its not as simple as it is.

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