Kerala girl allegedly kills self for missing online classes, Rahul Gandhi offers help
Many educational activists and others had warned the government to not rush with virtual classes as there are two lakh students who have no access to TV or smartphones.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic threat, Kerala began its academic year with virtual classes on Monday with much fanfare but it left some disturbing questions as well. A 14-year-old student, a girl, allegedly committed suicide in Malappuram and her parents alleged that she was disturbed as she could not attend online classes since the family did not have either a TV or smartphone.
The girl was missing from her house since Monday afternoon and her fully burnt body was later recovered from an isolated plot near her house in Valancherry. The police also recovered an empty bottle of kerosene near her body. The police said that after preliminary investigation, they found it to be a suicide and recovered a suicide note too. The body of the girl was later sent to post-mortem in Manjeri medical college hospital.
School authorities say the Class 9 student was good in her studies. Her parents said though they had a small TV, it was under repair for last three months. The repair was delayed because the family head, a Dalit farm hand, was without work in last three months due to lockdown.
“It was a sad incident. The government started virtual classes without preparations. There are at least 20,000 students in Malappuram and Wayanad districts alone who have no access to TV or smartphones. Big publicity to online classes pushed the deprived students to a corner,” said local legislator Abid Hussain Thangal who later visited the house of the deceased.
State Education Minister C Raveendranath has sought a report from the district education officer. The virtual classes were inaugurated by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday and he said the new system will revolutionise the system.
Many educational activists and others had warned the government to not rush with virtual classes as there are two lakh students who have no access to TV or smartphones. “We warned the government about this. The government should have done this after ensuring access to all students,” said educational activist Shajir Khan.
Meanwhile, Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi has sought a list of families and others who have no access to TV and smartphones. In a letter to the district collector, Gandhi said that online classes pose significant challenges for students with limited access to smartphones, computers and reliable internet connections.
Gandhi also said that he would like to extend his support and assistance in procurement of devices for students.
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