The Karnataka government on Friday decided to reopen engineering, diploma and degree colleges that were shut for students due to the COVID-19 pandemic from November 17.
"In a meeting that took place under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister it was decided to reopen degree college from November 17. Engineering, diploma and degree colleges will all start," Deputy Chief Minister C N Ashwath Narayan said.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, he said students will have an option to either attend the classes physically or online or can go in for blended learning by using both options.
"Students can register online, those students wanting to attend classes by coming to colleges should have consent from their parents. Depending on the strength- how the classes have to be held, in how many batches- everything will be decided along with all the necessary safety SOPs," he added.
Narayan, who is also the incharge for Higher Education Department said for students who will stay at SC/ST, social welfare and OBC hostels all necessary safety measures will be taken, also necessary transport arrangements will be made to facilitate smooth conduct of classes.
Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa chaired the meeting of officials from health, social welfare, backward class, finance, transport and education departments, along with Narayan regarding starting classes in degree colleges.
Narayan, who is also the in charge of the Higher Education Department, said all necessary arrangements will be made for students who will stay at SC/ST, social welfare and OBC hostels. Necessary transport arrangements will also be made to facilitate smooth conduct of classes, he added.
Priority would be given for practical classes, pointing out that UGC guidelines also provided an opportunity to conduct offline classes from November. Students had also been demanding that classes be restarted, he said.
Narayan said the decision to reopen colleges was arrived at after several rounds of consultative meetings with all the stakeholders.
Each college would have a task force, the Deputy Chief Minister said, adding that Deputy Commissioners of districts have been authorised to coordinate and monitor things at their district level.
To a question on cutting short the syllabus, "we have not discussed it for now. That flexibility will be looked into, keeping exams in view. For now, we are trying to give impetus on learning. As per UGC guidelines we will be conducting classes. Online classes have already started in October," he said.
Further on November 17, the Chief Minister would launch the Learning Management System (LMS) portal, which, Narayan claimed, would be a first in the country, for the benefit of about five lakh students studying in government colleges.
Necessary approvals and budgetary allocations have been made for the LMS, adding it would be of help for students and teachers and improve the quality of education.
"It is aimed at bringing about revolutionary reforms in the education sector. We will be sharing details about this in due course," he added.