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Student's death "very painful", but no lapses on the part of Education dept, says Kerala CM

Published:03 June 2020

A day after a 14-year-old student committed suicide by setting herself afire as she was unable to attend virtual classes as her family did not have a smartphone, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described the incident as "very painful", but said there were no lapses on the part of the education department.

Thiruvananthapuram | A day after a 14-year-old student committed suicide by setting herself afire as she was unable to attend virtual classes as her family did not have a smartphone, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan described the incident as "very painful", but said there were no lapses on the part of the education department.
Since the television set at her home was not functioning, the girl, a class 9 student, could not access the classes, broadcast through KITE Victers TV channel and made available simultaneously on the Victers website, mobile app and social media pages, following which she had taken the extreme step.
Vijayan said the incident was "very painful".
The girl, daughter of a daily wage earner who did not have work due to the COVID-19 lockdown, was depressed before she killed herself as she was unable to attend the digital classes, her family said.
As she was not able to attend online classes, the student had been depressed according to her father and this was also being enquired, he said.
Twenty five students in her school did not have internet and TVfaciltiesand school authorities had assured them that some arrangements would be made.
No child will lose their classes, Vijayan said.
In some tribal areas where there was no network connection, alternative arrangements would be made for students, the chief minister said.
The Education Department is conducting a preliminary probe, he said, adding there have been no lapses on the part of the department on the matter.
For two weeks, trial runs of the online classes will go on.
"The schools have been closed all these days.
We are not in a position to tell when it would be possible to re-open them. The central government had said only by July end the classes are likely to open," Vijayan said.
It was decided to have the online classes keeping the children's future in mind as the state had the facilities."But there are some who do not have these facilities. We are prepared to provide that," he said.
Of the 41 lakh students in government schools, 2.61 lakh do not have facilities for online studies, but Vijayan said the government would provide them with all resources for going ahead with the online classes.
The Kerala State Beverages Corporation has decided to provide 500 TV sets, while many youth and students organisations have come forward to help, he added.
Joining issue with minister of state for external affairs V Muraleedharan, Pinarayi Vijayan said Kerala has neither denied permission nor put any pre-conditions to flights coming to the state as part of the Vande Bharat mission to bring back stranded Indians abroad,
Vijayan was reacting to a question raised by the media about Muraleedharan's reported statement that the state government had demanded a lesser number of flights.
Muraleedharan reportedly stated that the state government had expressed its inability to make arrangements for receiving more passengers.
"I do not know what his aim was. All are welcome. We have given permission for all flights," Vijayan said when asked about the minister's alleged remark.
The state has given permission to all flights asked by the external affairs ministry, Vijayan said.
As part of the second phase of the Vande Bharat mission, the ministry had stated that 12 flights would be operated on a single day in June and the state government had given its nod for the same, Vijayan said.
Under this arrangement, 360 flights have to come to the state in June.
"But from June 3-10, only 36 flights have been scheduled. This means that the permission granted for 324 flights in June are yet to be scheduled," he said.
"Central government could not operate flights as they had wanted, this is what we need to understand from this.
We cannot find fault with this as there would be difficulties in operating a large number of flights simultaneously to bring people from various countries," he said.
Besides the remaining 324 flights, Kerala was prepared to give allow more flights to the state and government had also asked the centre to inform how many more flights are likely to be scheduled to the state as part of theVande Bharat mission, Vijayan said.
The state has also granted permission for 40 chartered flights, but till June 2, only 14 flights have come, Vijayan said, adding it was prepared to permit more chartered flights to the state.
For the chartered flights, the two conditions, which had been stipulated by the government, was that the fare should be similar to the Vande Bharat flights and the priority should be as per that fixed by the state-- those who have lost their jobs, pregnant women and those whose visiting visa period was over.
Vijayan said since May 7 expatriates have begun returning to the state as part of the Vande Bharat mission and till June 2, 140 flights have brought in 24,333 people.
In addition, through three ships, 1,488 people have come from foreign countries and totally 25,881 have come to the state from abroad. 


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