Higher educational institutions in Karnataka have geared up to resume regular classes following government directions to reopen degree, engineering and diploma colleges from Tuesday after being closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the lockdown. Schools and colleges are shut since March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdown across the country.
While the primary and secondary education department is yet to take a call on whether to open the schools and pre-university colleges, the higher education department has decided to open colleges from November 17. Medical, dental, paramedical, nursing and AYUSH colleges will reopen from December 1.
Many government and government-aided degree colleges have started preparations by sanitising the classrooms with the spraying of disinfectants and setting up hand sanitisers at the entrance of the college and classrooms. The government said there was an option for students to either be physically present in the classroom or attend online classes.
However, teachers, staff and the students will have to produce a negative RT-PCR test report. Students will also have to submit a no-objection certificate by their parents, permitting their wards to attend regular classes.
Ahead of the reopening of colleges, Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Dr C N Ashwath Narayan, who holds the higher education portfolio, told reporters guidelines have already been given to them (colleges) in view of the coronavirus scare. He said the government is also keenly monitoring the measures taken by colleges.
According to him, each college has to set up a task force consisting of teachers, staff and students to ensure that the regulations are strictly adhered to. A senior official in the Education Department said education was badly hampered due to the lockdown for eight months.
Also, students faced problems with regard to online classes such as affordability of smartphones, health issues as a result of being glued to the screens and internet connectivity. Keeping these problems in mind, the government decided to start regular classes with a set of conditions to fulfil.