Private schools violate SOPs, conduct online classes for lower grades: Parents
Even as the state education department has banned online learning for students up to Class 2, parents said that several private schools affiliated to boards like Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Indian Certificate of Secondary Education (ICSE) and International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGCSE) are still conducting sessions with students in these classes.
On June 15, the state government issued a set of standard operating procedures (SOP) to bring in some uniformity and regulation regarding online learning across schools in Maharashtra. As per the SOPs, schools cannot conduct online classes for students up to Class 2.
Even after the guidelines came into effect, several private schools are reportedly conducting online learning sessions with children, according to parents. “The school has started conducting a few Facebook Live sessions for students, which are not made mandatory. But the fact that teachers are conducting these sessions is pushing most parents to attend them to ensure that their kids do not lose out on anything,” said the parent of a student from a school in Andheri.
Aditi Save, whose son studies in a Thane-based school, said that teachers had circulated links to the classes on parent WhatsApp groups. “When a few parents tried to point out the rules, they told us that the SOPs do not apply to non-state board schools,” said Save.
Vishal Solanki, education commissioner confirmed that the SOPs were framed for all schools in the state. “They are binding on all schools of all boards across the state,” he said.
An official from the education department said parents who wish to complain about schools violating SOPs, can write to the department. “They can write to the nodal officers who have been appointed by the state to hear complaints,” said the official.
Meanwhile, over 800 parents in the state have signed an online petition urging the state government to conduct an audit of private schools that were charging more than ₹30,000 as fees during the current academic year.
“Some schools are also charging transport fees and various activity fees at a time when students are at home. They are charging exorbitant fees and the government needs to look into it,” reads the petition started by Anubha Sahai, president of the India Wide Parents Association.