Published: 30th October 2021
Schools in Tamil Nadu's Coimbatore refuse to hold online classes, parents forced to send their children to school despite COVID fears
Coimbatore Chief Educational Officer said that the department had not received any complaints from the parents as of now but assured that there will be a round of inspections done at private schools
Contrary to the directions from the Madras High Court, as well the Tamil Nadu School Education Department, several schools in Coimbatore district have refused to hold online classes for those students who chose to study from home — schools are instead forcing students to attend in-person classes.
A resident of Coimbatore, T Ganeshan, whose son studies in Class IX at a private school, said, "I had not sent my son to school over COVID-19 fears. He was quite happy with online education till the middle of September. But, in a recent parent's meeting, the principal said that if students take part in offline classes, they will get good scores in public examinations." He told the New Indian Express, "He said that if they did not come to school, they cannot give us an assurance that they get good scores in the public examinations. So, I sent him to a regular class."
Another parent, K Elangovan, said, "My son is in Class V and the principal said that they will not take any online classes after November 1 but that students must come to school. I will send my son to school after two weeks depending on the situation."
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A mother of a Class IX student, G Aarthi, said, "After resuming offline classes from September 1, class teachers were sending only educational materials comprising videos, guides, etc through Whatsapp. It was not effective for my daughter who is studying in Class IX in an aided school." This is when, Aarthi said, she was compelled to send her daughter to school.
The Tamil Nadu Private Schools Parents' Association president, S Killivalavan, said, "The Madras High Court and the school education department clearly say that schools should not compel students to come to schools and should provide online education if students opt to learn from home."
He added, "When a majority of the students come to school, they refuse to provide online education to remaining students, violating orders. Parents should come forward to lodge complaints against schools without any hesitation," he added. The association president further demanded that officials from the educational department intervene in the matter.
Coimbatore Chief Educational Officer N Geetha said, "Private schools teachers are taking online classes and students are learning from home via mobile phones. Some school teachers send videos to students once they are done teaching in offline classes." When asked about private schools forcing students to attend in-person classes, she said that the department had not received any such complaints as of now but assured that there will be a round of inspections done at private schools.
A Chemistry teacher at a private school in Pollachi, K Mohan said, "The students who have come back to school are from Class IX to Class XII. Due to practical difficulties and work burdens, we have refused to take online classes for the remaining students as we have been taking offline classes in school. This is the reason most schools force students to come to school." He added, "We send study materials to students and if they ask any doubt from lessons by phone, teachers clear doubts."
The Tamil Nadu Private Schools Association President, R Visalatchi, believes that the schools are not falling short in their efforts. She said, "Most of the students attend regular classes. However, many schools are taking online classes and there are no issues pertaining to online education."