Tamil Nadu

Madras HC refuses to restrict online classes to just two hours a day

The Madras High Court on Monday refused to direct private schools in the State to restrict the conduct of online classes to just two hours a day until it disposes of a batch of cases filed regarding the restrictions to be imposed on such classes.

Justices M.M. Sundresh and R. Hemalatha rejected a plea for an interim direction and decided to hear all stakeholders, including associations representing private schools as well as parents and others, before taking a final call on the issue.

The court ordered the issuance of a notice in two newspapers — one in English and another in Tamil — with wide circulation, regarding the cases pending before it and to invite stakeholders to get impleaded and present their arguments on August 19.

Earlier, Additional Advocate General Narmadha Sampath told the court that a government order was issued on July 29 with elaborate guidelines to be followed by schools, parents, teachers and students during online classes.

She said the timings had also been regulated and that the government had made it clear that every online session of curricular activity could be conducted for 30-45 minutes and that there should be 10-15 minutes of break between each session.

However, advocate J. Ravindran, representing one of the petitioners, contended that the guidelines were only advisory and not mandatory.

He said that the government should come up with a firm resolve since it involves the health of schoolchildren.

Agreeing that it was an important issue, the senior judge on the Bench said that the court would look into all aspects, including health, access to technology, availability of gadgets and disparity created between privileged children and the marginalised ones because of online classes.

Since such an exercise cannot not be carried out without hearing the stakeholders concerned, the Bench decided to give a patient hearing to all, beginning with senior counsel S. Prabakaran, representing another petitioner, after the publication of the notice.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 5:12:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/madras-hc-refuses-to-restrict-online-classes-to-just-two-hours-a-day/article32263429.ece

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