Hyderabad: The Hyderabad School Parents Association (HSPA) wrote to the director of school education stating that private schools in Telangana are conducting online exams and assessments in violation of the Pragyata guidelines issued by the ministry of human resource and development (MHRD).
The MHRD guidelines include eight steps of online/digital learning: plan, review, arrange, guide, yak (talk), assign, track, and appreciate.
The parents alleged that schools are designing their own online classes, causing their children mental stress. Venkat Sainath K, the joint secretary of HSPA, said, "The schools are conducting assessments and putting tremendous mental pressure on children and also their parents who are forced to sit with them putting aside their day-to-day activities. A few schools are also asking students to upload clear scanned copies of their assessments using a scanner which is burning a hole in the pockets of the parents.”
The parents have also filed a PIL in the High Court claiming that participating in online classes is optional but the schools are forcing the parents, even threatening them, by saying that the lessons taught online - that are part of the syllabus - will not be taught again when the schools reopen.
“The parents are also being harassed by various schools regarding fees and books when the pandemic has made it difficult for people to make a living,” added Mr. Sainath.
Last month, the district education officers of Rangareddy and Hyderabad had pulled up two schools and issued show cause notices for hiking the fees following HSPA complaints.
A day ago, The Telangana High Court, on 6 August, pulled up the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for allowing its schools to conduct online classes.
While hearing a PIL filed by the Hyderabad School Parents Association (HSPA), the court said the board cannot allow students of classes IV and V to sit in front of computers for long hours. It also said the board cannot have its schools conduct classes without an official academic calendar.
Speaking to NewsMeter Venkat Sainath Kadappa, a member of HSPA, said, “CBSE schools in the state are working on a temporary academic calendar. Many parents have invested a lot in online classes for their children.”
During a Cabinet meeting on 5 August, the Telangana government had declared that schools should pursue digital medium to conduct classes. However, the court questioned how schools can conduct online classes when the government itself is supposed to file an official order in the upcoming days. The court stressed that the long duration of online classes can be a cause of trouble for young kids.
The education board has been asked to submit a response by 24 August