Hyderabad: The Commissioner of School Education, Telangana has confirmed on record that, "No guidelines were issued on the conduct of online classes in schools".
In a notice issued on 1st July, Ms Chitra Ramachandran- Commissioner - School Education, said, "All the district education officers in the state are informed that, due to prevailing COVID-19 situation, the government of Telangana have not taken any decision to re-open schools in the state during the academic year 2020-21. The government of India have also not taken any decision to start the academic year".
Further added, "Therefore, all the district education offices in the state are informed not to issue instructions on their own regarding the re-opening of the schools and other issued without instructions form the commissioner, school education- Telangana. Any deviation from above will be reviewed very adversely and initiate disciplinary action".
The Telangana High Court, on 1 July, served a notice to the state education department and the state government seeking a clear policy on conducting online classes in schools.
The High Court also asked schools not to increase any kind of fees during the academic year 2020-21 and charge only tuition fees on a monthly basis until further orders. The court was hearing a PIL filed by the Hyderabad School Students Parents Association (HSPA) regarding online classes.
The HSPA advocate told the court that it is illegal to start classes before the start of the academic year. It will be an injustice to poor students as it puts a burden on parents to buy devices for their kids, the advocate pleaded.
Seema Agarwal, the vice-president of HSPA, said, "The schools are charging full fees. They are withholding links for online classes if parents do not pay the fees. We are paying extra for laptops and other devices along with internet charges. Some schools are even charging extra fees.” She said that sometimes parents have to sit with their kids for the classes leaving other work. The children have to sit for long hours in front of the screen and it can damage their eyes and back, she alleged.
The association also demanded an online education policy and said the parents are afraid of filing a complaint with the police for fear the school may harm their children later. “The schools just dictate their rules and don’t want to listen to the parents. Schools are charging transport and food charges even when our kids are not going to school. We are not calling the police because that might hurt the career of our kids, ” a parent, under the condition of anonymity, told NewsMeter.
The High Court has directed the deputy educational officers and deputy inspectors of schools in Hyderabad district to take action in the matter.