The 14-member expert committee appointed by the State government has batted for the final assessment for the 2020-21 academic year to be an open book examination. The committee has said that students can appear for the examination from the comfort of their own homes.

It has urged the government to make the announcement at the earliest. “The grades from continuous and comprehensive evaluation and open book assessment can be clubbed for deciding the final grading,” said the committee in its report submitted on Tuesday.

The report titled ‘Continuation of Learning in School Education of Karnataka’ lays down guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic for technology enabled education and beyond. The government will study it before taking a final decision.

According to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, schools cannot reopen till July 31. The report addresses this, and recommends “contextual opening of schools” but only in areas where the risk of infection is low.

Schools in batches

One suggestion is the opening of schools in batches in a phased manner in low-risk areas. Students can be divided into smaller batches as per their age, and allowed to go to school once or twice a week where teachers engage with them in a constructive manner. Children can be provided learning material till their next visit, and engaged in non-contact sports activities.

Such school visits can be conducted at regular intervals and this process can continue till normalcy returns, said the committee in the report. However, it reiterated that this model is feasible only when schools are located in areas that do not have infection and all children come from the same neighbourhood/village or community.

Community-based education

Another model mooted by the committee is starting community-based education. A member of the committee said that this type of learning can begin immediately and “school, like platforms, can be created within these communities by mapping the children, the available space, a willing adult who can help them use the learning material.”

All resources, including TVs, radios, public address system and at times digital equipment, can be shared. It also suggested that such community schools tap into the expertise of retired teachers.

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