Tamil Nadu

‘UGC, AICTE can allow online classes, even post-pandemic’

Stating that the lockdown to fight COVID-19 had opened up new vistas such as conduct of online classes for school and college students and virtual courts for lawyers and litigants, the Madras High Court impressed upon the need to continue the virtual mode of education for the benefit of those in need of it.

Disposing of a public interest litigation petition, Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P.D. Audikesavalu said nodal agencies such the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) could consider extending online classes in future too “without being unnecessarily rigid.”

Authoring the order, the Chief Justice said one of the “side effects” of the pandemic was the conduct of court hearings on the virtual mode. “While it is still stressful to participate in a virtual hearing, primarily because of the quality of connectivity at times, if the quality of the connection is appropriate, it opens up a lot of possibilities,” he wrote.

The Bench pointed out that lawyers and litigants were spared of the need to travel long distances to attend court hearings, and got to enjoy the convenience of attending court from their chambers. “If nothing else, a lot of resources involved in the travelling, not to speak of time, is saved,” it added.

Similarly, online classes, too, became a norm for both school and college students during the pandemic. “While the atmosphere of being together in a school or in a college or a university must also be experienced as much as the education imparted there, students may exercise the choice of attending classes on the virtual mode, subject to obtaining permission or in cases when they are unwell or the like,” the court said.

The judges were of the view that students who had to travel long distances for studies and those with locomotor disabilities and the like could be spared of the daily trouble by choosing to attend certain classes on physical mode and the others on virtual mode, subject to rules and regulations that could be prescribed by the nodal agencies.

The Bench said that the online classes could be conducted as an alternative to physical classes or in addition to physical classes or as a combination of both, depending upon the course.

It left it open to the authorities concerned to take a call after a thorough analysis but without being rigid, the Bench said.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 10:44:39 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/ugc-aicte-can-allow-online-classes-even-post-pandemic/article37118401.ece

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