Karnataka Primary and Secondary Education Minister, S. Suresh Kumar, said on Friday stating that opening schools is the last thing on his mind as he considers himself more of a guardian of children who are studying in schools across the state.
In a lengthy message posted on his Facebook page, Kumar reassured the parents that opening schools is the last thing on his mind as of now.
"I consider myself more of a guardian of children who are studying in schools than just a minister. I completely understand the concerns of the parents," he said.
Kumar, who is under self-quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19 last week, posted the message after leaders cutting across the party lines started appealing to the state government to defer the decision to open schools until a vaccine is developed to treat coronavirus.
In his post, Kumar said, "I am equally concerned too. I have told this on a number of occasions in the past that the government is not at all in a hurry to open schools. But somehow, the issue comes to the forefront every other day."
He added that he sees himself as the guardian of more than one crore students who are studying in various schools across the state, and not just as a minister of a department.
"I assure all the parents that the state government will always stand by them, and not with any other force. The Union government may have given permission to open schools, but it is not an ultimatum," he clarified.
The minister added that the state government has never made this (opening schools) a prestige issue.
"I request those who are creating confusion to understand this. For us, the most important thing is to protect the children from this virus," he said.
Kumar further clarified that though Health and Family Welfare Minister B. Sreeramulu and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar had convened separate meetings to elicit opinions to resume schools, it was part of a governmental procedure to take its decision.
"Even Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa and Medical Education Minister K. Sudhakar have clarified time and again publicly that there is no plan to open schools. Such being the case, I appeal to the people not to spread misleading rumours on this issue.
"Moreover, decisions like opening schools under such circumstances cannot be taken secretly or in a hurried manner. This decision is going to affect more than a crore children. Therefore, do not spread rumours," he appealed.
Earlier on Friday, political leaders cutting across the party lines, including BJP's Shobha Karndlaje, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, JD(S) leader H.D. Kumarswamy and others, had demanded that the state government should immediately take steps to declare this academic year as 'examination less year' and promote all the students from Class I-IX without conducting any examination.
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