Bengaluru

Schools remain closed, but tutorials are thriving

While schools have remained closed since the start of the pandemic, many private tutorial centres have already resumed functioning in Bengaluru. The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has learnt that some of them are operating without following safety protocols or enforcing COVID-19 appropriate behaviour.

The matter came up for discussion on Friday at a meeting held by the government-appointed committee that met to discuss the reopening of schools. Committee members urged the government to take action against such centres.

Incidentally, while private schools have taken a financial hit due to the pandemic, private tutorials have started seeing an uptick in business. With work-from-home still the preferred choice, and students attending online classes, many parents are signing their children up for private tuitions.

“My son and daughter were getting too distracted with online learning, and were unable to grasp concepts last academic year. My work hours are stretched as it is, and it is impossible for me to step in and help them. I did not want them at a disadvantage this year, too, so I decided to enrol them in private tutorials near my house,” said a mother who lives in Malleswaram.

With restrictions eased, students attend physical classes, the strength of which ranges from small groups of five to as many as 50 children in one batch. Some other parents, who are worried about their children contracting COVID-19 if they attend tutorials, are engaging teachers for their children who come and teach in their homes.

The duration of these classes ranges from two to six hours a day depending on which standard they are in. Many class X children have already started preparing for the board examination by seeking additional private tuitions.

D. Shashi Kumar, General Secretary of Associated Managements of Primary and Secondary Schools in Karnataka, who is also the member of the committee alleged that tutorials were not following any of SOPs while conducting classes.

“When schools are not allowed to remain open, how can tutorials be opened ? In fact, in these classes, students do not maintain physical distance and do not wear masks. Even if one student in a class has COVID-19, the others will be at risk,” he said, adding that while teachers may be vaccinated, the students may bear the brunt.

Although the Karnataka Tutorial Institutions (Registration and Regulation) Rules, 2001, under the Karnataka Education Act, stipulates basic rules to run private tutorials including mandatory registration, officials say monitoring by the department is extremely poor.

V. Anbukumar, Commissioner for Public Instruction said that the public could complain to the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) who would initiate action against tutorials. “We have not given any private tuitions permission to function,” he said.

No decision on reopening of schools

The Department of Public Instruction has yet to take a decision on when schools can resume physical classes. Officials said they will take a call on this next week. The government-appointed committee submitted an interim report where it has recommended that lower primary classes should resume from August 2.


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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 11:28:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/schools-remain-closed-but-tutorials-are-thriving/article35502187.ece

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