Ahmed Patel demands national guidelines for online classes

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on September 19, 2020 Published on September 19, 2020

Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel   -  PTI

Citing "digital divide" the Congress has asked the Centre to constitute a task force to study how online class is putting severe mental stress on students as well as their families.

Raising the mater in Parliament, Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel urged the Centre to come out with national guidelines after consulting states, as to what should be the rules under which online classes be held.

"Rather than changing education syllabus, central government must increase spending to provide digital support for poor students," he said.

He said several public and private schools are conducting online classes to justify collection of fees. "This is creating immense mental and financial burden on economically backward families. In poor homes either they don’t have a laptop or computer and if they have a Smartphone it is usually shared by many family members. Digital India should not become an instrument for Digital Divide between rich and poor," he said.

He cited reports of suicides by students in States such as Gujarat, Delhi, Kerala and Bengal due to the stress and stigma of online classes. He said the 75th NSSO round survey found that 24 per cent houses have internet access and nine per centstudents have access to internet.

He also said a survey by Gujarat education department said three per cent students had a laptop or PC and four per cent students had access to smart phones with unlimited data plans.

He said in Delhi, 80 per cent houses don’t have any laptop /computers according to a State Government survey.

The Telangana Teachers’ Federation's survey said 70 per cent students taking online classes didn’t follow anything.

"Access to internet in states like Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha is worse than Goa, Delhi and Himachal. In 2014 Modi government promised to connect 2.5 lakh gram panchayat with broadband by 2017. So far only 23,000 have been connected," Patel said.

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Published on September 19, 2020
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