A public interest litigation (PIL) petition has been filed in Jharkhand High Court on Monday seeking the state to ban online streaming classes from Pre-Primary till 5th grade(under age 10 years).
The petitioner, advocate Md Shadab Ansari submitted that attendance in online classes shall be optional and not mandatory, and fees should be charged accordingly.
Speaking to Newsd Ansari said, “Jharkhand is not as developed as other big cities. Many students do not have enabled devices, access to the internet, reliable electricity, and other resources required for online classes. Moreover, some are incompetent to pay a fee.”
“Considering the ill effects of online classes on small children Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra has already banned online classes for primary and pre-primary children”, he added.
The PIL also demanded the state to issue appropriate circular/notification/order to rationalise and regulate the arbitrary and unreasonable tuition fee charged by some schools for online classes.
“The fee should be fixed keeping in mind that the survival of both parents and schools is necessary during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic for the development and progress of society”, the PIL states.
The PIL has been filed considering that primary education helps intellectual and physical development through play and structured activities but online classes restrict these activities and put unnecessary stress on them.
“There is express and implied agreement of the school with the parent/ students for rendering offline classes. There was no mention in the agreement that in case of pandemic and adverse circumstances they will offer online classes and charge a certain set of tuition fees”, the PIL argued.
Early in May, Jharkhand State Education Department in collaboration with Doordarshan started online classes and educational programs to provide school education to students of the state through video and thematic lectures. The programme aired on the regional DD channel and free Dish TV from morning 10 am to afternoon 2 pm for five days a week every day from Monday to Friday.
More than 65 percent of students enrolled in Jharkhand’s government schools cannot access to online classes, figures with the school education and literacy department have highlighted.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought the huge digital divide. Private school children are quick to afford the online classes facilities. But, the marginalised section is struggling for the access.