Kerala Education Minister C Raveendranath has sought a report from district-level education officials on this tragic incident
Malappuram, Kerala: A Class 9 student from a Scheduled Caste background committed suicide on Monday by setting herself on fire in Kerala’s Malappuram district. The young girl’s family has alleged she was left distraught by not being able to access classes online.
“There is a television at home but that has not been working. She told me it needed to be repaired but I couldn’t get it done,” the girl’s father, who is a daily wager with little income during the ongoing coronavirus lockdown, told reporters.
“I don’t know why she did this. I said we could look at options, like going to a friend’s house,” he said.
The young girl’s mother had given birth only a few weeks ago.
“The family was financially very strained and the girl was worried she would not be able to study further, or that her studies would be affected. Initial reports suggest she was upset about not having access to the TV or online classes since they started,” a senior policy official told NDTV.
Kerala Education Minister C Raveendranath has sought a report from district-level education officials on this tragic incident.
With the threat of the COVID-19 virus looming large, the southern state began its academic year on June 1 via online classes called “First Bell” that are telecast on the Victers Channel. A detailed timetable was handed to all students from Class 1 to 12.
However, an estimated 2.5 lakh students in the state don’t have access to either the TV or devices that can access the internet. The government is working towards viewing centres or giving laptops to small groups with help from sponsors.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is a Lok Sabha MP from Kerala’s Wayanad, wrote to the District Collector today and said online classes posed significant challenges for students with limited access to smartphones, computers and reliable internet connections.
Schools and colleges were shut in March after the nationwide lockdown to break the coronavirus chain of transmission. On Sunday, while extending the lockdown to June 30, the centre said educational institutions may open in July, after consultations with states and other stakeholders, including parents.
In the meantime, classes at several schools across the country are being conducted online, something the Home Ministry has encouraged amid the lockdown.
Kerala, which recorded the first three coronavirus cases in India, has done remarkably well in containing the spread of the virus. There have been only 1,326 confirmed cases so far, with only 708 of them listed as active cases.
India is nearing the two lakh cases mark, with over 8,000 fresh cases reported in the past 24 hours, according to Health Ministry data Tuesday morning.