Hyderabad: Telangana High Court on Friday voiced serious concern about online classes for school going children. The panel comprising Chief Justice Ragahvendra Singh Chauhan and Justice B Vijayasen Reddy noticed three crucial factors: that 11 states in the country had stalled online classes, that studies reveal that it could affect the eye sight of children and also about economic viability of families with more than one child. The panel was dealing with a public interest litigation case filed by Hyderabad School Parents Association which challenged the conduct of online classes and collection of tuition fee.
Special Government pleader, Sanjay Kumar pointed out that generally June 12 is commencement date of academic year and 180 days is compulsory school working days. Government will take decision after a month. The present online classes are authorised by the Central Government guidelines which said online shall be continued and shall be encouraged. Chief Justice Chauhan questioned how one could allow online classes when academic year has not commenced at all.
“It is self contradictory, the government stand is vague. You are not permitting but you are also not forbidding the online classes”, said the Chief Justice. Parents are under pressure, government is required to take a stand, stated the panel. Senior counsel, Adinarayana Rao representing private school managements told the ICSE and CBSE schools commence their academic year from March and therefore the Central Government allows schools to conduct classes online. The panel expressed their concern for the parents and students of weaker sections who cannot afford online education. It stated there are sepoys from army and other contract employees of Grade IV who cannot afford to buy laptops to their children.
When Senior counsel Rao told education cannot be brought to standstill for a few students who could not afford, the Chief Justice stated migrant workers lives came to a stand still, factories and in fact judiciary came to stand still. “The state has responsibilities towards the have-nots”, said the Chief Justice. The panel directed the petitioner to make Union Government and Central Boards as party to the case. Further directing the state and private schools’ management to submit their response, the panel adjourned the case to July 13.
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