Schools ignoring guidelines on online classes, allege parents

Claim that classes do not comply with time limits set by the government

Many schools are exceeding the time limit set by the government while conducting online classes, which until last week, had been banned for students up to class V. Some parents claimed that schools were not only conducting classes for a longer duration, but also holding online sessions more frequently in violation of what the government has specified.

“They are trying to replicate the timetable chalked out for regular classes and apply them to online classes as well,” said one parent.

Others expressed concern over the health impact of prolonged periods in front of the computer and whether it will have an adverse impact on their eyesight and mental health.

A parent whose child studies in class I in an ICSE school on Bannerghatta Road said that classes resumed on Tuesday. But to the father’s dismay, online sessions are being conducted for four hours every day even though the department norms state that schools can conduct two sessions only on alternate days, of a 30 to 45-minute duration.

“As a parent, I do not want my child to have a screen time of four hours each day. It is shocking that school managements are not adhering to the department’s order,” the parent added.

Another parent whose child studies in a school in south Bengaluru said that the school had not stopped online classes even after the ban. “For five days a week, my daughter, who is in class III, sits through four periods. Each period lasts 35 minutes with a 10-minute gap between classes,” said Vimala R.

The government, which had banned online classes, last week issued an order permitting 30-minute online classes for LKG and UKG students under parental supervision. For students in classes I to V, teachers can conduct two sessions on alternate days, each spanning between 30 and 45 minutes. The duration increases with each grade.

In its order, the department had specified that the order was applicable only until the expert committee formed to look into modalities of online classes submits its recommendations.

School managements feel that the time duration stipulated by the department is not enough and serves little purpose.

Mansoor Ali Khan, general secretary, Managements of Independent CBSE Schools Association, said that the department’s order was a ‘knee jerk’ one, as parents and school managements had approached the court. “There is a need to conduct classes for a longer duration than what is specified,” he said.

Incidentally, the High Court on Tuesday permitted parents and educational institutions to challenge the legality of the State government’s new order permitting online classes.

K.G. Jagadeesha, Commissioner for Public Instruction, said that there was a need for schools to conduct classes for the duration specified. “If schools conduct classes for a longer duration, the parents can call on the helpline or complain to the jurisdictional Deputy Director of Public Instruction,” he said.

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