The petition, filed by NGO Ezra Foundation through advocates Shashikant Chaudhari and Manoj Kumar Singh, further sought a court-monitored committee for framing guidelines for opening of schools across the state and preparing a list of erring schools that are charging fees, and revoking their registration. NGO moved the Bombay High Court on Monday seeking directions to the state government to refrain from conducting classes – through both online and offline modes – for primary and pre-primary students in the age group of three to 14 years until September.
We spoke to Kanchan Navre mother of a 3-year-old said, “The government and schools are lacking in informing the parents about the future course of action, as this Covid is likely to stay for coming years, how are our children going to attend the schools with the rising cases of Covid-19 in the city. It will be inhuman and unsafe for our children to attend school looking at their weak immunity systems.”
Another parent Prabhakar Shetty said, “There is a lot of confusion on primary school reopening in Mumbai, and online teaching. As parents, we are worried, how small children can cope up and continuously sit on computers. Purchasing of a laptop or computer is another issue as many private employees are being terminated or facing salary crunch. Online training with poor network, frequent disconnections, untrained teachers and parents will only jeopardize the future of our kids.”
The plea also sought that the state should frame guidelines for a “common fee structure” for private schools for the 2020-21 academic year in view of financial problems being faced by the parents due to the lockdown.
“Some parents have opposed reopening of schools but their concerns are not being addressed. Many parents are at their native place at this juncture due to the lockdown and many have become financially weak to afford fees of private schools, which are in several lakhs. In such a situation, parents are not able to pay fees in June or at least the next two to three months. However, schools have issued circular for payment of fees…” the plea said. It is set to be heard later this week.