Few schools selling books, stationery items and uniforms have made compulsory for parents to buy specific gadgets from school for seamless access to virtual classes. The move has generated wide-scale discontent amongst parents who are financially unable to procure the devices for their children.
“A couple of days back, we received a message from the school saying that they would start e-learning through a tablet. When I enquired further, the school asked me to pay Rs 25,000 towards fee, out of which Rs 7,500 is for the tablet. They said that unless I pay the entire amount, the tablet will not be given to my son,” said a parent whose son is enrolled in a private school. School authorities have explained that the gadgets come pre-loaded with educational content and software which will be indispensable to attend online classes and appear for exams.
The issue has been highlighted by parents against a few Kendriya Vidyalayas too.
“When we raised a complaint about young children not being able to handle phones to attend classes, the headmaster simply advised us to buy laptops,” commented a parent whose children are studying in class II and III at a KV in Telangana.
Meanwhile, members of Telangana Recognized Schools Managements Association (TRSMA) have reached out to parents who are unable to buy the electronic devices necessary for online classes. TRSMA has been helping parents secure loans for buying the gadgets.
“We are connecting parents with financiers so that they can buy the electronic gadgets for their children to attend virtual classes,” said S Srinivas Reddy of TRSMA. TRSMA has further added that they are yet to receive any complaints from parents regarding this issue.
During the ongoing COVID-19 school shutdown, educational institutes have taken active measures to breach the digital gap and help online education flourish preventing further disruptions in the academic calendar. Many schools are also harnessing the benefits of radio and TV for imparting online lessons.