Karnataka High Court has asked the state government to consider allowing online classes for limited hours.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Nataraj Rangaswamy expressed a prima facie view that the state could not have by passing an order direct all schools to suspend online classes for pre-primary and primary classes. While hearing the matters challenging the order banning online classes issued on June 15, the court said, “The expert committee should have been formed and consulted before taking a decision. The state has formed the committee after issuing the order. This is like putting the cart before the horse.” It further asked the government what it’s problem is when some schools would like to conduct classes and some students would like to take them. Stating that the government is completely shutting down education, it said, “Government thinks children sitting at home do not use internet. Let the schools run online classes without making it compulsory for all.”
Advocate Pradeep Nayak and senior advocate Jayna Kothari appearing for the petitioners argued that the order passed by the state was ex-facie illegal and online education cannot be banned by the state government when the central government too is advocating for online education during the lockdown. The counsel for some schools called the ban discriminatory arguing that only schools were banned to impart online education while several big private education institutions are making money through online coaching. They also argued that the state government’s order contradicts the guidelines by the central government on online classes. They also contested that it is beyond the powers of state government to make such decisions under the section 7 of the Karnataka Education Act, 1983. The Act allows the government to only prescribe curriculum for schools i.e. textbooks, duration of classes, medium of instruction and tuition rates.
Government pleader Vikram Huilgol has filed a memo stating that the expert committee has sought time till June 30 to provide recommendations. The High Court said, “Let the committee take it’s own time. When we granted time during the last hearing, we expected the state to come up with a solution.”
The High Court has now decided to have the next hearing on June 29.
The Karnataka government suspended online classes for students from LKG to class 5 and later, also banned recorded video lessons for them. The ban had received flak from many parents and educators. They had also raised their concerns about their child’s education and conducted a twitter-protest last week.
Source: Livelaw.in and Times of India