Published: 10th September 2020
Madras High Court refuses to ban online classes, asks schools to adhere to govt guidelines
The court also directed schools to adhere to mandated time limits,identify problems being faced by the parents and teachers in online connectivity and availability of the devices
Madras High Court on Wednesday refused to ban online classes and said that guidelines mandated by both State and Central government should be strictly adhered to by schools. The court has also said a small group of students requiring special attendance may be permitted to attend classes physically.
The bench of Justices MM Sundresh and R Hemalatha passed orders on a batch of pleas raising various concerns regarding the conduct of online classes for students amid the COVID-19 pandemic on Wednesday. Some of the issues raised by the petitioners were privacy during online classes, safeguards to prevent students from encountering obscene or pornographic content during online classes and to ensure that Government guidelines issued on online education are strictly complied with.-"The guidelines issued by the Government of India and the State Government with respect to the conduct of online cases amid the pandemic are mandatory and are, thus, to be adopted and followed by all the stakeholders, particularly the Schools,-" the direction said adding that committees shall be set up at the district level to supervise the compliance.The court also directed schools to adhere to mandated time limits,identify problems being faced by the parents and teachers in online connectivity and availability of the devices and issue circulars to block obscene content.
Schools have also been asked to explore the possibility of having end-to-end encryption.Students identified as requiring special attendance in view of the difficulties faced in online and digital education access can be allowed to attend physical classes while following social distancing,the court has said.Complaints made to the support and helpline numbers should be looked into by the cyber crime cell or the other relevant authorities and the process of the investigation will have to be completed within a period of three months.The court reiterated that it is not that online education is viewed as a substitute for education in the physical form, rather as a supplementary form of education that is being resorted in view of the pandemic.