BENGALURU: Parents and schools favouring online classes sent out 40,000 tweets on Sunday afternoon hoping to influence the government into taking a favourable decision. The Bengaluru group found big support in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, which are also handling similar controversies.
The first phase of the initiative on June 14 saw parents from Bengaluru holding a twitterathon with 7,000 tweets. Buoyed by the success, the parent community decided to launch a second phase that found resonance in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
Maharashtra has banned online classes till class 2 and is yet to decide on prerecorded videos, leaving parents in a similar predicament. In Madhya Pradesh, the ban is till primary classes. Karnataka was the first state to implement the ban and form an expert committee to issue guidelines on online classes. The 10-day period for the committee to submit the report ends this week.
‘Wanted to get parents together’
Parents carried out their campaign on Twitter and Telegram, hoping the online storm might force the government into a decision. Parents sought freedom to choose the mode of education hailing the online system, while teachers and schools raised concern over jobs and continuity in learning.
“After our Twitter campaign last Sunday, many likeminded parents reached out to us. Our Telegram group has 1,800 members. Many outside our group too are tweeting. We wanted to get more parents together and amplify our voice. We are writing to members of the expert committee. Twitter gives maximum exposure (to a cause) and the government is present on it,” said Shweta Sharan, a parent who started the Telegram group.
“When governments like Kerala worked to ensure access for kids, your team slept. When you woke up, you banned education to evade criticism and even action. Instead of providing education to kids in Karnataka, you have banned it. You have failed us,” tweeted @RightToLearn2.
“Instead of working on ensuring access during April and May, the minister has chosen to ban education altogether in June. Couldn’t he have set up the committee in April? Why wake up only in June and now hiding behind the committee?” said @deepuchandranpk, one of the organisers.
“75% of the parents in my community wanted online class. They believe when the screentime has anyway shot up, it’s better that kids have access to meaningful content than mindless cartoons or games. It should be up to parents and schools, and not a blanket ban,” said Ruchita Shah, founder of First Mom’s Club, in Mumbai. Some parents have filed a PIL in the high court, saying the ban infringes on their rights.