HC: Consider allowing online classes for limited period till panel submits report

‘Govt. should not have prevented schools from offering the classes through a blanket ban’

June 26, 2020 11:02 pm | Updated 11:02 pm IST - Bengaluru

A file photo of an online class under way. On June 15, the State government issued an order banning online classes.

A file photo of an online class under way. On June 15, the State government issued an order banning online classes.

Observing that prima facie schools should not have been prevented from conducting online classes by way of a blanket ban, the High Court of Karnataka on Friday directed the State government to consider providing online classes for limited hours till the expert committee submits its report and the authorities take a decision based on it.

The government’s action is like putting the cart before the horse as the blanket ban on conducting online classes was imposed first and then the committee on “technology enabled education” was set up, the court observed.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy passed the order during hearing of a series of PIL petitions filed by parents of school-going children and the petitions filed by some of the educational institutions questioning the June 15 order of the government banning online classes.

No recommendation yet

Since the committee has not made any recommendation so far, the Bench said the government, till the committee’s report is received and decision is taken on its recommendations, would have to consider allowing schools to provide online education for limited hours.

Observing that it had expected that the government would come out with some solutions on Friday as indicated by the court on Monday, the Bench said it was adjourning the hearing till June 29 only because the Advocate-General is not in station.

During the hearing, the Bench asked how the government can shut education completely when it is not possible to open regular schools. Is the government of the impression that children, who are at home since March, are not using the Internet otherwise, the Bench wondered.

How can the government stop if some schools want to offer online classes to their students and parents and children are agreeable to such an arrangement without making it as compulsion, asked the Bench.

Earlier, advocates for the petitioners pointed out that the government had only banned regular schools from conducing online classes but several private educational companies were conducting online classes on a large scale.

It was also alleged on behalf of some of the petitioners that the government had been misleading the court that the expert committee was looking into the issue as the committee was not looking into the issue of online classes up to class V but only class VI onwards.

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