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Karnataka HC hears plea against ban on online classes

The Court suggested while dealing with a batch of petitions challenging the move to ban online classes for primary school students in the state.

The Karnataka HC today asked the state government to immediately consider allowing the conduct of online classes for primary school students, till a committee of experts submits its report on the issue. The Court suggested while dealing with a batch of petitions challenging the move to ban online classes for students in classes from lower KG to class five.

The Bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy stated, “The state government will consider permitting online education for limited hours till the process of consultation by the committee is completed and appropriate decision is taken…”

While pulling up the state government for its failure to come up with an effective solution to allow online classes, the Court opined, “Prima facie, we are of the view that by passing a blanket order, the State could not have prevented the schools’ online classes.”

Government Pleader Vikram Huilgol today informed the Court that a committee on “technology-enabled education” had been appointed and that the government was awaiting the report of the said committee. Noting this, the Court observed, “This shows that before taking the decision, the state government has not consulted the committee of experts.

After taking a blanket decision, the state government has appointed a committee. From the minutes tendered…we find that the committee has not yet submitted recommendations.”

The Bench proceeded to ask Huilgol, “If some schools want to impart education via online classes, and some students are willing to take it, then what is the state’s problem?… Is the government under the impression that children sitting at home are not using the internet? Let the schools run it [online classes] without making it compulsory.”

At this juncture, Senior Advocate Jayna Kothari submitted that the Ministry of Home Affairs, through its lockdown orders, had urged schools to organize online classes. Senior Advocate Uday Holla also made similar submissions, stating that even UNICEF had recommended going forward with online classes amid the pandemic.

As the Advocate General was not available today, the Court has adjourned the matter for hearing on June 29.

Can you completely deny the opportunity of learning? Karnataka HC asks govt in plea against an order banning online classes for primary school kids Previously, the Court had sought the state government’s response in the matter. The petition was filed against a Government Order dated June 11, which had directed all schools to suspend online classes for students in lower KG to class 5, till guidelines were formed by an expert committee in this regard.

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