Row over reducing time duration of online classes

Private school body says decision will harm interests of students
Row over reducing time duration of online classes
Representational ImageSource: Tumisu from Pixabay

Srinagar, June 3: The J&K Education Chamber-an amalgam of all the private school associations of J&K on Thursday asked the J&K government not to take any hasty decision about regulating online classes.

The statement came two days after the J&K government framed the guidelines for online classes with directions to the schools to put a cap on the screen time.

The directions were issued after a 6-year old student in a video complained that small school going children were overburdened by schools with assignments and other homework.

However, the private school body opposed the government decision to reduce the screen time for online classes saying that conducting online classes for half an hour to one hour will not serve any purpose for the students.

“The government should have taken on board all the stakeholders before issuing such an order at this crucial time when online mode of education has become the only option to avoid the academic losses of the students,” said Chairman JKEC G N Var while addressing a press conference here on Thursday. He was accompanied by the co-chairman JKEC Showkat Choudhary and other members of the Chamber.

Var said if the J&K government decision to reduce the duration of online classes was in the interest of the students then it should get implemented in schools throughout India.

“It is a mockery of online education that the government changed the policy after a small girl posted a video on the internet. The decision in this regard should have been taken after a well thought process,” Var said.

He said the government should instead announce relaxation in the syllabus to back its decision for reducing the duration of online classes.

“It is a hasty decision which will deprive the students of quality education. The government should have consulted some experts before issuing such guidelines. Ironically, the government did not take private school bodies on board before announcing the decision,” he said.

He said the private schools comprise a major stakeholder and it was imperative for the government to take on board every stakeholder before announcing any policy change.

“Government should explain on what basis and research they announced the reduction of screen time,” the JKEC said.

The JKEC while asking the government not to take any hasty decision regarding online classes stated that a committee including scholars, teachers, principals, parents and other experts has been constituted to advise about the future course of action for holding online classes.

“We will convene the meeting of the committee and come up with our suggestions to the government. Till then the authorities should not be in haste to implement the directions,” Var said.

The JKEC however stated that the world was battling the pandemic for the last more than a year following which the schools and universities across the globe shifted to online education to compensate for the losses.

“J&K government followed suit and switched over to online classes so that our students aren’t left behind. We understand that online classes in no way can compensate for the brick and mortar classrooms, but these are extraordinary times which need extraordinary measures,” Var said.

The JKEC while addressing the media also stated that students were not exposed to screen only during online classes of schools but most of the students attend online classes of private tuition and are subjected to more screen time.

“But there are no curbs on the coaching centres. Every minute of screen time is aimed to provide quality education and prepare the students for the future. Restrictions without any scientific reason will surely harm the academics,” Var said

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