Parents in Telangana push government to reopen residential schools, threaten to approach High Court

Amidst declining cases, parents have claimed that more than 6 lakh students are being deprived of education and nutrition
Representative Image | Pic: Express
Representative Image | Pic: Express

The Telangana Parents Association has written to the Education Minister P Sabita Indira Reddy, demanding the reopening of residential schools across the state with immediate effect. The High Court had, at the beginning of this month, stayed the reopening of the government residential schools and colleges (GURUKULAS) to arrest the spread of the Coronavirus.

The President of the TPA, Nagati Narayana, told Edexlive that they have spoken with the Secretary of the Social Welfare Residential Schools, asking them to reopen, and were told that their hands are tied until they get a green light from the government. "The students in the residential schools are from the poorest of the poor families, and they depend on these schools not just for education, but also for a safe environment and nutritious food. Education has also come to a standstill for them because they do not have access to online classes," he said.

In New Delhi, Central Government-run residential schools were reopened at 50 per cent capacity, for Classes XI and XII, and states such as Assam had reopened residential schools along with other educational institutions from class X at the start of this month. However, schools in Himachal Pradesh had to be shut because of a spike in COVID-19 cases. The TPA says that the last three weeks (since schools reopened in Telangana from September 1), have served as a good enough example that cases can be controlled if COVID-SOPs are followed diligently. "We request the reopening of the residential schools for at least 15 days on a trial basis for the higher classes," said Narayana.

Adding that parents are "getting ready" to approach the High Court if the schools aren't reopened by the government, the TPA president said, "COVID-19 cases are not in an alarming stage and there is no fear about a third wave. Health department officials are giving assurance that there is no anxiety of the effect of the Coronavirus on children." The government has done precious little for these students during the pandemic, and they have been left without devices or internet connection to access online classes, the TPA claims.

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