Hyderabad: Telangana education minister Sabitha Indra Reddy has assured parents that physical classes will not be mandatory for the students. If parents are unwilling to send their children back to schools then they can attend online classes, she said on 19 January.
The education minister met representatives of Hyderabad Schools Parents Association (HSPA) and higher officials of the education department on Tuesday.
The HSPA members reminded the minister that recently the Supreme Court had refused to start physical hearings and continue virtual hearings after medical experts warned of the dangers of spreading COVID-19 if physical hearings are started. When the judiciary is unwilling to start physical hearings, it is not good to start physical classes for students of Class IX and above, the parents argued, adding the children would be at risk of contracting the virus.
The minister assured the parents that physical classes will not be mandatory and students can continue to attend online classes. Ms. Reddy also assured them that attendance will not be compulsory and students will not be detained for shortage of attendance.
The HSPA requested the minister to decide a percentage of fee reduction in view of the pandemic and loss of income of parents and decide the fee to be paid in proportion to the salaries and rents paid by the private schools. It also requested the minister to expedite the constitution of a fee regulation committee and decide the fee to be collected by private schools. Direct the private schools to give break-up of fees collected by them instead of showing entire fee as tuition fee, the parents requested the minister.
Regarding schools collecting Aadhar details of students, the HSPA reminded the minister that the Telangana High Court had recently asked the state government not to collect Aadhar details while feeding details in the Dharani Portal. The minister assured that necessary instructions will be issued by the education department to the private schools asking them not to collect Aadhar details of students.
The HSPA members asked the minister to ensure that all teaching and non-teaching staff of the schools undergo COVID-19 tests.
The association also brough up the issue of filing of criminal cases against parents on the basis of a complaint filed by St. Andrews school and alleged that they continue to violate GO 46 and RTE Act and are removing students from schools on the pretext of shortage of attendance in online classes. The minister assured the parents that she would speak to the DGP and request him to look into the issue and also book cases against private schools that are violating the rules.