What will children do sitting idle at home all day, asks Karnataka HC

Asking what children could do sitting idle at home the whole day because of the COVID-19 restrictions, the High Court of Karnataka on Monday permitted parents and educational institutions to challenge the legality of the State government’s new order of June 27 permitting only a few sessions of online classes till an expert committee submits its report.

What is the problem in allowing schools to offer education online with a rider that it is not mandatory, the court asked, when the advocates for the petitioners pointed out that restrictions have been imposed on schools to hold online classes as part of regular education while private players have been allowed to enjoy roaring business through the online teaching mode.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy made these observations while hearing a batch of PIL petitions, filed by parents of school-going children, and the petitions filed by some educational institutions questioning the June 15 order of the government prohibiting schools from conducting online classes. On June 27, the government issued an order permitting limited sessions of online classes after the High Court, during an earlier hearing, asked it to find a solution such as allowing limited hours of classes till the expert committee’s report is submitted.

Though the government said that it had now modified its June 15 by allowing limited sessions of synchronised online classes based on the ‘Pragyata’ guideline for digital education released by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the Bench found that the ‘Pragyata’ guidelines were not an order enforcible by law and were only suggestions.

Earlier, questioning the power of the State government to restrict schools from continuing education online during the COVID-19 pandemic, it was contended on behalf of the petitioners that the arrangement should be decided by each school and the parents of children, not by the government.

It was also pointed out that the June 27 order strangely directed that online classes of 30 minutes for pre-primary students may be held once a week for interacting solely with parents and guiding them.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 12:14:31 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/what-will-children-do-sitting-idle-at-home-all-day-asks-karnataka-hc/article31948328.ece

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