Published: 09th November 2020
Meeting between Tamil Nadu School Education Department and parents over reopening of schools ends in a deadlock
The feedback submitted by parents ranged from urging the schools to reopen as they feared their children will drop out to demanding compensation of Rs 5 crore in case their wards dies of COVID-19
Over 12,000 schools in Tamil Nadu on Monday, held a state-wide consultation to ascertain stakeholders' opinion on reopening schools for students in classes 9 to 12, said a senior official from the School Education Department.
The meeting, however, brought in a mixed bag of responses with a few urging for a partial reopen and the others opposing it. "The parents are so divided on the issue that I think the consultation is going to make it harder for us to make a decision," said the official.
The feedback submitted by parents ranged from urging the schools to reopen as some feared their children might permanently drop out of education, to some of them telling the state government to compensate them with Rs 5 crore in the extreme case of their wards' death due to COVID-19, post reopening.
Parents who could afford gadgets, did not want to send children to school on a daily basis, while the economically weaker section felt that the lockdown had severely affected their children's education. "Most of them do not want the school reopened. They want us to conduct only practical exams, tests and doubt clearing sessions," said P Vijayalakshmi, principal of Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Virugambakkam. She added that there was still a lot of fear among the community about the virus and barely any parent from the ninth standard wanted to send their children to school. "Maybe we can open it for the students in class 12 on a trial basis and see."
The principal of another matriculation school in the city said that parents were fearing a second wave of infection after the festival season. "They want online classes to continue, and want us to hold weekly tests to prepare the children for board exams," she said.
However, responses were different in government schools. "Parents said that they were scared for their children's life. However, they also saw no other option but to send them to schools," said the principal of a government school in North Chennai. He added, parents who send their children to government schools often are unable to assist them in their studies. "While students who study well are able to manage with Kalvi TV lessons, others have no chance to learn," he said, adding that all those who wanted to study would stand to benefit if they were allowed to come to schools.