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Karnataka high court online education

Karnataka HC seeks govt’s response in plea against online education ban

June 23, 2020

The Karnataka HC has sought the response from the state government in a plea challenging its order dated June 11 that called for online education ban. The order directed all schools to suspend online classes for primary school students, until the expert committee issues guidelines in this regard.

The plea states that the order, however, does not provide for any alternative way to continue learning to online education until the guidelines are issued. The petitioner Advocate Pradeep Nayak contended that it is an outright ban on online learning.

The HC bench of Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice S Vishwajith Shetty, while hearing the matter, said the issue that arises is the fundamental right of children guaranteed under Article 21A of the Constitution. “Can you completely deny opportunity of learning to these students?,” they asked the state government.

Government pleader Vikram Huilgol contended that the online classes were suspended only until a committee is formed and issues certain guidelines to regulate online education. He contested that NIMHANS had stated that children of Class 5 and below should not be taught for eight hours via online medium. He further stated that the government is not against imparting education to its students, but believes online education should not be done in the absence of regulations.

Countering the government’s argument, Nayak stated that the committee would be framing guidelines only for classes 6-10, not for classes below 5. He further claimed, “The Karnataka government want to ban online education and conduct classes via television and Youtube. This defeats the whole purpose of their said orders.”

The HC observed that it would take some time to form a committee and more time will be lost until a report is submitted to the government. The Court asked the state if online classes can be conducted for few hours. It further asked the government to also clarify the measures that it would take to ensure that even children in rural areas have access to the online classes when they commence. The matter has been posted for hearing on June 26.

The PIL contends the June 11 order issued by the government after the experts submitted that excessive screen time would affect children adversely. The petition states, “If indeed the worry of the respondents was based on expert reports were excessive screen time being spent by young children, the priority ought to have been issuing necessary directions to parents to limit non-educational screen time for these children, rather than to prohibit educational screen time altogether.”


Read: #RightToLearn: Parents appeal to governments to revoke ban on online learning

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