Parents and educators took to Twitter on Sunday appealing to Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh governments to revoke their ban on online learning for their children studying in pre-primary and primary classes and ensure #RightToLearn for them. About 40,000 tweets were posted during the ‘tweetstorm‘ #RightToLearn stating that a blanket ban on online classes is ‘arbitrary’. Tweets stated that the ban on online classes is not a way out as online class is the ‘need of the hour’, they say, and every child has a right to education.
Several educationists like Fatema Agarkar, founder of Agarkar Centre of Excellence; Sumeet Yashpal Mehta, CEO and co-founder of LEAD school; and Amil Arora, vice chairman and managing director of Shemrock and Shemford Group of Schools, have edited their Twitter accounts to add #RightToLearn to their profile names. The tweet storm was supported by eminent education organisations such as Early Childhood Association, Association for Primary Education and Research (APER), National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA), Members of International Schools Association (MISA), School Leaders Network (SLN), Centre for Education and Documentation, Telangana Recognized School Managements Association (TRSMA), the Karnataka Council of Pre-schools, and LIFE EDUCARE Network Schools.
Karnataka govt has failed us: Parents
The tweet storm highlighted that the fundamental rights – right of children to learn through any medium, right of parents to choose what is best for their wards and right to work for teachers – have been violated by the ban. A tweet read, “When governments like Kerala worked to ensure access for kids, your team slept. When you woke up you banned education to evade criticism & even action. Instead of providing education to kids in Karnataka,have banned it. You have failed us #NimmaSureshFail #righttolearn.” Another tweet read: “Dear Govt of #Maharashtra, #Karnataka & #MadhyaPradesh Digital India was the dream of our Hon PM @narendramodi and #OnlineLearning was our only hope which could have kept the learning ongoing. You took that right away from parents. Give us our #RightOfLearning.” Parents also tweeted posters that their children had created which demanded to revoke the ban. One of the posters read, “I want my online classes going! I need back my school! Give me my school back!’Another poster read, “E-learning is better than no learning. Yes to online classes.”
Nandan Nilekani, co-founder of Infosys, tweeted: “It is inevitable that we will need digital technologies to re-imagine learning beyond physical schooling.”
‘Who is the ban actually for?’
Fatema Agarkar asked who is the ban actually for? Speaking to EducationWorld, she said, “Children have been asking why they can’t meet their teachers or friends. The tweet storm was all about parents raising voice as they feel right to education and right to learn are fundamental rights. They have responsibility towards their children to ensure that they grow to be learned individuals and they need directions and guidance from professionals to fulfil it. We educators also joined in to show support to parents. We understand there should be a balance of screen time for online learning and that is why we are here, to help and guide parents.”
She added that attempt by parents to keep their children, especially younger ones, engaged was fine for a summer break or summer camps. “But as it is certain that schools would not open before September, it is necessary to have online learning as it helps children to have a routine and be disciplined. The learning for young children is activity-based and it can be overwhelming for parents to manage their work, household chores and home learning for their children. Hence, parents took to Twitter to appeal to the government to revoke the ban on online learning,” she said.
– Akhila DamodaranNational, News