When the online classes in Kerala began on Monday, 1 st June, a class 10 a student from Malappuram district sank into hopelessness and took her own life. Kerala began its new academic year from 1 st June with online classes ‘First Bell’ that telecasted on Victors Channel
which could also be accessed through social media platforms.

The young girl, Devika was out of the many unfortunates who had no access to the online classes for one reason or the other. Her father, a daily wage worker was out of work due to the lockdown and that resulted in a shortage of money.

Her mother had given birth to a child a few days back which also owed to the monetary crisis. Their television was out of order and no one in their family-owned a smartphone. This girl, who was a good student was upset over missing the classes and left home in despair. On not returning home for a long time her parents went out to look for her and the charred body of the young girl was found 200 meters from their home in Mankeri Colony.

Her heartbroken father said, “There television at home but that has not been working. She told me it needed to be repaired but I couldn’t get it done. I couldn’t afford a smartphone either.”

A suicide note saying ‘I am going” and two bottles of kerosene were found near the body. Distraught father said they had been exploring other options like going to a friend’s house for attending the classes and this unfortunate incident is beyond their belief.

Kerala’s Education Minister C Raveendranath is looking into the matter and has sought a revised report on an incident from education officials of Kerala. When the idea of introduction of online classes was being tossed around, many people had expressed their concern on the unavailability of television or any other platform for the classes to a large section of the society due to dire monetary condition or network issue. In fact, according to a survey by the General Education Department, more than 2 lakh students are deprived of the facilities to access the aforesaid classes.

This incident has brought to light the harsh reality of a society that is capable of pushing a young mind to the edge of despair.

Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan has promised access to e-classes to all the students. Teachers have been instructed to make sure not a single student is deprived of the opportunity to learn. Provision for community classes in backward places of Kerala has also been taken under consideration.

A charity organized by a school in Kozhikode district provided tabs to places where students have no access to internet smartphone or television. Congress leader and Wayanad MP
Rahul Gandhi also expressed his concern and promised help to the students so that they can have access to the classes and gain an education without any fear of missing out.

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