HYDERABAD: Questioning whether lawmakers in Delhi were losing sight of ground realities prevailing in rural India, devoid of internet facilities for online classes, the Telangana high court on Friday asked the Centre, CBSE and other central institutions to respond by July 13.
Reacting to pleas that the Centre was providing laptops at subsidised rates to provide online classes to children, the bench asked how many parents know about the existence of such a scheme.
“Leave alone two laptops for a tribal family, let it (the Centre) first think of providing two square meals a day to the impoverished families,” the bench said, making it clear that it wants to first hear from the Centre and its academic wings on why their guidelines don’t address the ground realities.
The bench, while hearing a PIL filed by Hyderabad School Parents Association (HSPA), sought action against the schools for collecting term fees, admission fees, developmental charges, library fees, extracurricular activity fees, and transportation fees, instead of collecting only monthly fees to access online classes.
The state’s special counsel A Sanjeev Kumar informed the court about how the TRS government has formed a sub-committee to study the issue after the Centre prohibited reopening of schools and colleges till the end of July 2020 and permitted online classes.
As school education falls under Entry 25 in List 3 of the Constitution, where the Centre’s word prevails over all the states, the state said they were in two minds.
“Take a firm stand, like Maharashtra which has banned online classes. Adjust Centre’s guidelines to local conditions. Unless there is an express prohibition dictated by law, you cannot control it. You say you are not permitting online classes. But you are not stopping coercive methods of private school managements either,” the bench said.