Karnataka school reopening has been a success. While most states are reopening senior classes for students in classes 9 to 12, Karnataka has announced to reopen schools for classes 6 to 8 as well. Talking to news18.com, state Education Minister BC Nagesh said, “We tested 6,472 students of which only 14 have come positive. That figure shows positivity rate is very less. Even doctors have said infected among students very less,” which made the state government reopen the schools in the second phase as well.
In the second phase, schools will be allowed to reopen only in districts with less than 2 per cent positive rates. Nagesh informed that except Mangalore, all Talukas have seen 2% or fewer positivity rates. In 212 Gram Panchayats not seen even a single COVID-19 positivity case has been reported, he said. The state has also prioritised vaccination among teachers. “Out of 2.61 lakh teachers, over 2.5 lakh have been vaccinated. Of this 1.5 lakh have already received their two doses,” said Nagesh.
The state is targeting students from lower-income backgrounds, said the Minister. Since schools have been shut since mid-March 2020 and classes have been shifted in online mode. Many students have not been able to get access to education, especially those who belong to rural areas or economically backward families. An Azim Premji Foundation survey found that 92 per cent of the children have lost at least one language ability, while 82 per cent have lost math skills.
“We saw response is very high among students coming from poor and rural backgrounds. These students are our focus when reopening schools. “In both government and private schools, more than 60 per cent of students are attending schools. In 15 districts, the attendance is over 80 per cent. Attendance is more than 90 per cent in eight districts. The dropout rate is also very low,” he said while adding that the enrolment has in fact increased in government schools, particularly government-aided schools with infrastructure that has gone up.